SPAIN has been passed over for inclusion on the new UK ‘Green’ travel list because its overall COVID infection rate is too high.

The details of the first list were announced this afternoon in London by Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps.

But Gibraltar is on the ‘Green’ list, along with Portugal(including Madeira and the Azores) and Israel as the only three short-haul holiday destinations for UK travellers.

Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the Falklands, the Faroes, and Brunei make up the rest of the first ten approved countries.

There had been some speculation, but not from British sources, that the Canary Islands and/or the Balearic Islands might be treated separately from mainland Spain.

Many hotels in tourist spots viewed Spain’s non-inclusion on the list as likely and were not planning to reopen until July in areas like the Costa Blanca, especially as operators like Jet2 were not resuming flights and holidays until late June.

France and Greece have also failed to make it onto the list which will be reviewed every three weeks.

Gibraltar’s inclusion also opens up an interesting loophole where people going for a break there can simply hop over the border into Spain with UK authorities none the wiser.

From May 17, UK international travel will operate on a traffic light system with countries graded green, amber or red based on their vaccination rates and case numbers.

Those people travelling from the UK to green list countries will not have to self-isolate on their return but will be required to take a PCR test.

Non-essential foreign travel has been banned for four months and those returning from “red-list” countries are now required to enter hotel quarantine on their return to the UK at their own cost.

Grant Shapps, speaking at a Downing Street news conference, described the list as ‘necessarily cautious’.

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