Prime Minister urges people not to travel to Spain

As many as 100,000 Britons are expected to fly to Spain today as the country opened its doors to foreign tourists for the first time this year.

Around 30 flights are due to depart for the country from the UK, with those arriving not required to present a negative coronavirus test.

But the Government has reiterated its guidance that British holidaymakers should not be travelling to Spain as the country remains on the amber list, meaning anyone returning to the UK will have to quarantine for up to 10 days.

Business Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said this morning: “The Prime Minister has been clear that, for now, amber means ‘please don’t go unless there is an urgent family reason and so on’ because we are still trying to slowly move through our road map to being able to open up on June 21 and we want to do that in a steady and careful way.”

She told Sky News “at the moment, today, that means amber countries really aren’t safe to go to”.

Spain is reopening its borders to overseas tourists ahead of the rest of the EU, which is expected to follow next month when it introduces its vaccine passport.

Prof. Andrew Pollard (PA)

Professor Andrew Pollard, director of the Oxford Vaccine Group, has been on the radio this morning to talk about the most recent Public Health England data published over the weekend.

He suggested the pandemic could be declared over if people are kept out of hospital by vaccines, but we need more time to see how effective they are against new variants.

“The thing that makes this a pandemic is people going into hospital. And so what we really need to know, and we don’t have the data yet for certain, is how well both vaccines are performing in preventing people from going into hospital,” he told the BBC’s Today programme.

“If the current generation of vaccines are able to stop people going into hospital, whilst there is still mild infections, people are getting the common cold with the virus, then the pandemic is over.

“Because we can live with the virus, in fact we are going to have to live with the virus in one way or another, but it doesn’t matter if most people are kept out of hospital because then the NHS can continue to function and life will be back to normal.

“We just need a little bit more time to have certainty around this.”

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