Priti Patel says ‘too early to speculate’ on travel restrictions
The shock announcement was made by the Spanish prime minister at a meeting of the Executive Council of the World Tourism Organisation in Madrid earlier this week. Mr Sanchez said that only when 70 per cent of Spain’s population had been vaccinated would the country reopen its borders to foreign travel. The prime minister said: “Only mass vaccination will open the way to the normality we want.”
Experts believe that this target will take until the end of the summer season to realise.
The announcement will come as a huge disappointment to British tourists, for whom Spain remains one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe.
It is also another devastating blow to Spain’s tourism industry, which has been left reeling by the health crisis.
According to some reports, the tourism sector has already lost up to €106 billion as a result of lockdowns and travel bans.
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The news comes as the Spanish Health Ministry reported 41,576 new coronavirus cases.
This is the highest number registered in a 24-hour period since the virus first broke out.
Hospitals across the country have been inundated with patients infected with the coronavirus.
Recent data showed that Covid-19 patients were occupying nearly 20 per cent of hospital beds and more than 35 per cent of ICUs.
The news comes as the European Union has announced that it will label Covid hotspots as “dark red” zones.
Travellers from those areas will have to take a Covid test before departure and undergo quarantine on arrival.
“A dark red zone would show that in this zone, the virus is circulating at a very high level,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference after a meeting of EU leaders.
“Persons travelling from dark red areas could be required to do a test before departure, as well as to undergo quarantine after arrival.”
This system would apply to travel within the EU, she said.
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