SPAIN has banned all unvaccinated Brits from entering the country from WEDNESDAY in a bid to contain a new strain of coronavirus.
It comes as a massive blow to British holidaymakers who plan to jet off for some well-deserved sunshine this winter.
Until now, Britons could enter Spain by showing a negative PCR test result taken up to 72 hours before arriving, but from 1 December they will also need proof of a Covid-19 vaccination.
British tourists will be admitted to Spain only if they can show proof of vaccination, according to a Spanish government bulletin published on Saturday as the country tightened travel restrictions amid concern about the new Omicron coronavirus variant.
It means thousands of Brit’s holiday plans could be thrown into disarray, and many will be unable to visit family living in Spain for Christmas.
The UK Government update said: “The Spanish Government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK (excluding children under the age of 12 years old) to present on entry proof of being fully vaccinated.”
Brits must have recieved their second dose of the vaccine at last 14 days prior to arriving in Spain.
The Spanish Government announcement said: “The appearance of new variants causing (coronavirus) obliges an increase in restrictions.
“This will affect British residents but not British people who are resident in Spain.”
Yesterday Boris Johnson launched new plan to fight Omicron variant after two cases were found in UK.
The two cases – which are currently isolating – are said to be linked to travel in South Africa.
Under the plan, from Tuesday Brits must once again don facemasks to enter shops or take public transport.
WHO first reported the new strain earlier this week after a case was reported in South Africa earlier this month, later calling it a “variant of concern,” and that early evidence “suggests an increased risk of reinfection.”
The new strain reportedly has a high number of mutations in the virus’ spike protein.
It comes as Switzerland has said only Swiss nationals and permanent residents can enter in a massive blow to Brits’ Christmas getaway plans.
Swiss travellers from Britain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi will also need to present a negative Covid-19 test and quarantine for ten days, the Federal Office of Public Health said in a tweet.
On Friday, Switzerland banned direct flights from South Africa and the surrounding region due to the detection of a new Covid-19 variant, while also imposing restrictions on travel from other countries including Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.
Two cases of the new Omicron coronavirus variant have also been detected in the southern German state of Bavaria and in Itlay, both neighbours of Switzerland, but Switzerland has thus far not imposed travel restrictions on any countries with which it shares borders.
And France’s Health Minister today announced that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is probably already circulating in France, adding that the government was tightening restrictions to contain its spread.
ISRAEL SHUTS BORDERS
Meanwhile Israel has barred entry to all foreign nationals, mandating quarantine for all Israelis arriving from abroad and red-listing travel to 50 African countries.
It also approved use of the Shin Bet internal security agency’s controversial phone monitoring technology to perform contact tracing of individuals confirmed with the new omicron variant of coronavirus in Israel.
While much remains to be learned about the new variant, researchers are concerned that it may be more resistant to the protection provided by vaccines and could mean that the pandemic lasts for longer than anticipated.
Elsewhere in the world, Australian officials confirmed Sunday that two overseas travellers arriving in Sydney are the first to test positive in the country for the omicron variant of the coronavirus, as nations around the world tightened controls against the worrying new strain.
It comes as…
The two passengers were among a group of 14 others who arrived in Australia from southern Africa on Saturday, They were asymptomatic and were both vaccinated for COVID-19. The remaining 12 have been placed in quarantine.
Neighboring New Zealand announced it was restricting travel from nine southern African countries because of the threat posed by the variant, and Japan widened its border controls to include more countries from the region.
Tourist-dependent Thailand, which only recently began loosening its tight border restrictions to leisure travelers from certain countries, announced a ban of its own on visitors from eight African counties.
Similar restrictions took effect in the business hub of Singapore, which is barring entry and transit to anyone with a recent history of travel to seven southern African nations.
Sri Lanka banned disembarkation of passengers arriving from six African countries due to the detection of the omicron variant, as did the Maldives, the luxury Indian Ocean resort archipelago.
In addition to the similar entry ban, quarantine officials in the Philippines have been ordered to track down recent travelers from southern Africa and put them in a quarantine.