Spain is set to swerve the dreaded “amber plus” status, according to reports.
Rumours abounded that the country might be added to the special category, created specifically for France last month, in response to fears over the Beta virus variant.
“Amber plus” travellers entering the UK must quarantine for 10 days and take two PCR tests, regardless of vaccination status, while regular amber list arrivals can avoid self-isolation if they’re double jabbed or under 18.
However, it is now expected that Spain will cling onto its amber-list position in the government’s upcoming travel review.
A Whitehall source told the Times: “Spain won't be going on the amber watchlist – the only danger is it going red but that's very unlikely.
“Cases are coming down. And they haven't got enough beds to quarantine everybody. So it's not going to happen.”
According to data analyst Tim White, Spain’s case numbers were down on 3 July.
“New Covid-19 cases (of all variants!) fall by a considerable 23 per cent,” he tweeted.
“20,327 new infections this evening.
“A week ago the seven-day infection rate peaked at 550 AD/M, this evening it's down to 473.”
More crucially in terms of amber plus, he said the latest data on Spain’s instances of variants was “very good news regarding the upcoming UK traffic light review.”
“In week 26, there were 184 cases of the Beta variant identified in 2,404 sequenced samples (7.7 per cent); in week 27 that figure is down to just 33 in 2,389 samples (1.4 per cent),” he added.
The latest update for international travel rules, when countries are shuffled between the green, amber and red lists with restrictions to match, is expected to take place on 5 August, with changes coming into effect the following Monday.
It’s expected that the amber plus category and the green watchlist might be scrapped altogether after Boris Johnson said he wanted a “simple”, “user-friendly” system for travel.
The prime minister also U-turned on the idea of an “amber watchlist”, identifying countries that were at risk of moving to the red list, after backlash from ministers and the travel industry.