Holidays at risk as Spain rejects UK Covid recovery certificates

Half-term holidays to Spain are at risk after the country REJECTS EU plans to accept Covid recovery certificates for UK arrivals

  • Spain to reject EU plan allowing Covid recovery certificates to be used for travel
  • All arrivals over the age of 12 will need to show evidence they are fully jabbed
  • If last dose was more than 270 days ago, then evident of a booster will be needed
  • Move will largely frustrate half term plans for families, with children over 12 only offered second doses since late December 

Half term holidays to Spain are under threat with the country set to reject EU plans that would have made it easier to enter the country. 

Under Brussels’ plan, unvaccinated people or those with only one dose would have been allowed to travel provided they recovered from Covid within the past 180 days. 

But authorities in Madrid are shaping up to reject the rule, meaning anyone over the age of 12 who has not been fully jabbed will be banned from crossing the border.

The rule will hit children the hardest because the NHS only began offering second jabs to over-12s in late December. Children who were infected with Covid after their first jab are also forced to wait 12 weeks before getting a second.  

Spain is set to reject EU plans that would have allowed tourists to use evidence of a prior Covid infection to travel (file image)

What did the EU propose? 

Under the EU plan, arrivals from outside the bloc would be allowed in without needing to test or isolate provided they have been fully vaccinated within the last 270 days.

For people whose last vaccine was more than 270 days ago, evidence of a booster vaccine would be needed.

Evidence of a prior Covid infection would also be accepted, provided it was within the last 180 days.

But the rules are only guidance – EU members are allowed to set their own border policies. 

What has Spain said?

Spain is set to reject evidence of a prior Covid infection as a reason to skip border checks.

It means all arrivals over the age of 12 will need to show evidence they were fully vaccinated not less than 14 days prior to travel, and not more than 270. 

Those who were jabbed more than 270 days prior must have a booster.

The rules will mostly affect children from the UK, who were only offered second jabs starting in late December. 

Are other countries following suit?

It is also unclear whether France, another top half term destination, will adopt the EU rules. 

Currently, all arrivals to France from the UK must have a negative lateral flow test taken no more than 24 hours before departure, no matter their vaccine status. 

They must then wait another two weeks after the second jab for it to be valid for travel – meaning some may not be able to get vaccinated in time for the holidays, which begin in a little under two weeks.

From tomorrow, children will be able to use the NHS app to display their vaccination and infection history. 

Spanish tourists officials are also set to reject plans to allow recovery certificates for adults, according to The Times.

It means adults will also have to show proof of full vaccination to cross the border. 

If their last dose was given more than 270 days prior to travel, then they must provide evidence of a booster shot.  

The rules will have less impact on adults, however, because they have been eligible for booster vaccinations for months. Around 55 per cent of the UK’s total population have got booster shots.

News that Spain is continuing with its strict border rules will come as a blow to the travel industry, which has suffered through two years of outright bans and shifting restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of Covid.

Spain is one of the most popular destinations for holidaying Britons, with tourists spending billions each year on trips in pre-pandemic times.

The Spanish Tourist Office in the UK said: ‘Spain is in discussions with the EU and its partners about a possible review of the entry requirements for tourists from third countries with a view to making the current measures more flexible. The situation could change in the near future.’

In signs that the global recovery from Covid is far from over, two of London’s main budget airlines revealed Wednesday that the number of passengers they carried dropped in January.

Even when compared to Omicron-hit December, the airlines said that they lost 2.7 million passengers between them.

Ryanair was the worst hit in January when compared to the month before. The number of passengers that it carried dropped 26 per cent – from 9.5 million to just seven million. 

Under Spain’s rules, all arrivals aged over 12 will be forced to show evidence they are fully vaccinated with the second shot given no more than 270 days ago (pictured, current EU infection rates relative to population)

Meanwhile, Wizz Air saw its passenger figures dip 9 per cent to 2.4 million.

The data casts new light on the challenging situation faced by airlines. 

Governments put restrictions on international travel early on in a bid to slow the spread of the virus across borders.

But investors are now hoping that the airlines can move beyond Covid. 

The share price of both companies has recovered and is now trading at around, or above, its pre-pandemic level.

It is a different story at rival IAG, which owns British Airways. 

Investors are clearly worried about the firm and its shares price is nearly two thirds lower than before the pandemic.

Wednesday’s figures have something to cheer for both budget airlines. 

Wizz Air showed that it had more than quadrupled the number of passengers it carried compared to January 2021 – but it is still lagging behind its figures from a year before that.

Ryanair showed an even larger jump, increasing its passenger numbers more than fivefold.

It flew 46,000 flights in January, and its planes were 79 per cent full. Wizz Air’s so-called load factor was 79.6 per cent. 

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