Latest News Headlines

Covid positivity rates among travellers are 22 TIMES higher in some amber list nations than France

16

Covid positivity rates among travellers are 22 instances higher for some nations on No10’s amber list in comparison with France, MailOnline can reveal amid rising confusion over why ministers determined to position harder quarantine guidelines on the nation.  

Anyone who arrives in Britain from throughout the Channel should nonetheless self-isolate for ten days even when they are fully-vaccinated. Officials insisted the transfer was needed due to the ‘persistent presence’ of the South African ‘Beta’ variant, which may partially evade vaccines.

But specialists poked holes in the Government’s reasoning, saying different international locations have higher rates of Beta and are additionally struggling larger coronavirus outbreaks. Fresh statistics launched right this moment pile additional stress on ministers to justify why France was picked on, specialists say.

Almost 30 per cent of the 1,800 circumstances noticed among travellers all through June have been among individuals who had flown into the nation from Portugal and Spain. Test positivity rates in each vacation hotspots have been additionally twice as excessive as France’s.

Some 0.3 per cent of individuals arriving in England from France examined optimistic for Covid, in keeping with probably the most up-to-date figures launched by the Department of Health. For comparability, the speed was as excessive as 6.8 per cent in the opposite amber list nation of Sierra Leone. 

Leading scientists advised MailOnline the figures counsel France is being ‘unfairly focused’ and it’s unclear why the nation has been singled out. 

They argued placing ‘amber-plus’ restrictions on the nation ‘is unnecessary’, given separate statistics that present the proportion of circumstances linked to the South Africa variant is 5 instances higher in Spain. France’s outbreak additionally is not spiralling anyplace close to as shortly as it’s in Spain.

The locations with the very best fee of individuals testing optimistic on return have been Sierra Leon (6.8 per cent), Algeria (4.4 per cent) and Indonesia. There have been intently adopted by Russia (2.6 per cent), Kazakhstan (2.3 per cent) and Jordan (2.1 per cent). The locations with the bottom rates of contaminated travellers on return have been Lithuania Jamaica and Hong Kong, with the speed of Covid among arrivals at simply 0.2 per cent

Figures from NHS Test and Trace show nearly 30 per cent of all travellers who had the virus between June 10 and 30 had been holidaying in Portugal and Spain

Figures from NHS Test and Trace present practically 30 per cent of all travellers who had the virus between June 10 and 30 had been holidaying in Portugal and Spain

The UK continues to have the highest infection rates among western European countries. For every million people, 703 are infected in the UK, with lower rates seen in Spain (545), Portugal (323), France (189) and Germany (16). But the UK is carrying up to 10 times more Covid tests than these countries, which could impact the number of cases it identifies

The UK continues to have the very best an infection rates among western European international locations. For each million individuals, 703 are contaminated in the UK, with decrease rates seen in Spain (545), Portugal (323), France (189) and Germany (16). But the UK is carrying as much as 10 instances extra Covid checks than these international locations, which may affect the variety of circumstances it identifies

Experts were baffled over why France was singled out, given its outbreak isn't spiralling anywhere near as quickly as it is in the other holiday hotspots of Spain and Greece — where the vaccine-resistant strain is understood to be more prevalent. Data collated by European health chiefs show the South African variant, as it is also known, was behind just four per cent of all cases in France last week. For comparison, its prevalence was five times higher in neighbouring Spain, where it made up slightly more than a fifth of all new infections. The variant was also more common in Greece (13.4 per cent)

Experts have been baffled over why France was singled out, given its outbreak is not spiralling anyplace close to as shortly as it’s in the opposite vacation hotspots of Spain and Greece — the place the vaccine-resistant pressure is known to be extra prevalent. Data collated by European well being chiefs present the South African variant, as it’s also recognized, was behind simply 4 per cent of all circumstances in France final week. For comparability, its prevalence was 5 instances higher in neighbouring Spain, the place it made up barely extra than a fifth of all new infections. The variant was additionally extra widespread in Greece (13.4 per cent) 

What are the principles for individuals returning to England from overseas? 

AMBER LIST  

  • Take a Covid-19 take a look at in the three days earlier than you arrive in Britain 
  • Book and pay for day two Covid-19 checks – to be taken after arrival in England
  • Quarantine at dwelling or in the place you are staying for 10 days, and full a passenger locator type in the event you are not totally vaccinated or have been to France 
  • If you are vaccinated, you do not want to quarantine in England – however you will have to take a take a look at earlier than arriving again in the nation, after which one other on day two after your return

For all arrivals coming back from an amber list nation, earlier than arriving in England, it’s essential to take a non-public PCR or lateral movement take a look at in the three days earlier than the service on which you’ll arrive in England departs.

For instance, in the event you journey to England on Friday, you’ll be able to take the take a look at on or after Tuesday and might want to have the destructive end result obtainable earlier than boarding on Friday.

Before you arrive in England, everybody should additionally guide and pay for a day two Covid-19 take a look at, to be taken after your arrival in England.

People who are not vaccinated and anybody who has been in France in the final 10 days should additionally guide and pay for a take a look at on or after day eight.

You don’t have to quarantine on arrival in England or take a day eight Covid-19 take a look at, so long as you are totally vaccinated. This means that you’ve got had your remaining dose of an accredited vaccine not less than 14 days earlier than the date you arrive in England. 

But below the Test to Release scheme you’ll be able to select to pay for a non-public Covid-19 take a look at on day 5. If the result’s destructive (and the results of your day two take a look at end result was destructive or inconclusive), you’ll be able to finish your quarantine. 

RED LIST

  • You can solely enter England in the event you are a British or Irish National, or you’ve got residence rights in the UK
  • Take a Covid-19 take a look at in the three days earlier than you arrive in Britain 
  • Book a quarantine resort package deal, together with two Covid-19 checks, and fill out a passenger locator type

If you’ve got been in a rustic or territory on the purple list in the final ten days you’ll solely be allowed to enter the UK in the event you are a British or Irish National, or you’ve got residence rights in the UK. 

You should additionally take a Covid-19 take a look at in the three days earlier than you arrive and guide right into a quarantine resort.

The fee for one grownup in one room for ten days (11 nights) is £1,750, whereas the extra fee for one grownup (or youngster over 11) is £650, and for a kid aged 5 to 11 it’s £325.

While in the quarantine resort it’s essential to additionally take two Covid-19 checks. 

GREEN LIST

  • Take a Covid-19 take a look at in the three days earlier than you arrive in Britain
  • Book and pay for a day two Covid-19 take a look at, which can be taken after your arrival in England
  • Complete a passenger locator type

Before arriving in England, it’s essential to take a non-public PCR or lateral movement take a look at in the three days earlier than the service on which you’ll arrive in England departs. 

You can’t take an NHS take a look at overseas with you to make use of on your self earlier than you come back. If you are returning to the UK inside three days, you should utilize the results of a Covid-19 take a look at that you just take in the UK earlier than you journey – however this should be from a non-public take a look at supplier and never the NHS. 

With the goal of getting holidays going once more this summer time with the pandemic nonetheless raging on, ministers adopted a visitors mild journey coverage saying the time had come to benefit from being one of many world’s most vaccinated international locations. 

Decisions on which international locations seem on which list are made by ministers, based mostly on recommendation supplied by the Joint Biosecurity Centre — a part of the UK’s Health Security Agency.  

The lists are reviewed each three weeks however all international locations are assumed to be amber. Brits are warned in opposition to travelling to international locations on the purple list, which have rapidly-growing outbreaks or are being hit arduous by troublesome variants. 

In a mix-up of the three-tier system nevertheless, the Department of Health final week introduced that totally vaccinated individuals arriving in England from France from July 19 should nonetheless isolate for 10 days at dwelling. All of the house nations adopted the identical coverage. 

Travellers who’ve had each vaccines and visited any of the opposite 146 international locations on the amber list don’t have to quarantine — however do nonetheless must take one Covid take a look at earlier than they are free of dwelling quarantine.

MailOnline evaluation revealed simply 0.3 per cent of individuals coming back from France examined optimistic for the virus in the 20 days main as much as June 30, which are the newest figures obtainable.

Meanwhile, extra than twice the variety of individuals coming back from Spain and Portugal — the most well-liked vacation hotspots — had the virus once they obtained again to England.

Of the 38,237 individuals who returned from Spain, 0.7 per cent had Covid, whereas 0.8 per cent of the 34,138 individuals who returned from Portugal examined optimistic.

The amber list locations with the very best fee of individuals testing optimistic for Covid on return have been Sierra Leone (6.8 per cent), Algeria (4.4 per cent) and Indonesia. There have been adopted by Russia (2.6 per cent), Kazakhstan (2.3 per cent) and Jordan (2.1 per cent).

The locations with the bottom rates of contaminated travellers on return have been Lithuania, Jamaica and Hong Kong, with the speed of Covid among arrivals at simply 0.2 per cent. 

But when deciding to place France on the amber-plus list final week, the Government might have had entry to extra up-to-date figures that are not obtainable to the general public.  

The UK continues to have the very best an infection rates among western European international locations. For each million individuals, 703 are contaminated day by day in the UK, in comparison with Spain (545), Portugal (323), France (189) and Germany (16).

But the UK is carrying as much as 10 instances extra Covid checks than these international locations, which may affect the variety of circumstances it identifies.

Professor Richard Tedder, a virologist at Imperial College London, advised MailOnline: ‘I don’t perceive what standards the Government are utilizing to place international locations on the amber list, or why France has been singled out when the prevalence of contaminated individuals is higher in different international locations.

‘Any nation with excessive an infection rates ought to be thought of for the amber-plus list, so everyone seems to be required to quarantine on return.

‘The vaccines are not utterly efficient and with each problem to them, how shortly may or not it’s earlier than a variant will get round vaccine?

‘It’s one other stress on the vaccine induced immunity which may simply be managed by making everybody isolate on return.

‘Right now we are simply mixing and matching variants and vaccines won’t thank us for that as they may change into much less efficient.’

Professor Gary McLean, an immunologist at London Metropolitan University, advised MailOnline: ‘It definitely appears like, in the event you merely take a look at the numbers of optimistic circumstances from these international locations, that France is being unfairly focused right here. 

‘There is probably going one other concern that’s not being reported broadly and that France has higher ranges of the Beta variant (originated in South Africa) which is understood to evade vaccine immunity higher than different variants and retaining that out of the UK can be good. 

‘Also maybe the variety of alternative ways one can enter the UK from France, by personal automotive for instance slightly than simply flights, has influenced the choice. 

‘I totally anticipate international locations with growing case numbers to be added to the amber plus in the longer term, nevertheless the UK ought to anticipate reciprocal behaviour for our residents’ journey as we at present have the worst numbers in Europe. 

‘It can be silly for different international locations to not recognise that.’

Professor Lawrence Young, a virologist on the University of Warwick, advised MailOnline: ‘The complete factor with France and amber-plus is perplexing given the higher ranges of Beta variant an infection in Spain. 

‘The authentic argument from authorities for putting France on the ‘amber-plus’ list was based mostly on the prevalence of an infection with the beta variant and considerations that returning travellers would deliver this extra vaccine-resistant variant again to the UK. 

‘But with higher ranges of beta variant an infection in Spain this is unnecessary. We definitely have to keep watch over the general an infection rates in different international locations however these are at present decrease than in the UK. 

‘One related concern is the extent of vaccination in completely different EU international locations and the way this may play out in phrases of the unfold of an infection – these are decrease in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain and much decrease in Greece. 

‘This is likely to be an element in the federal government’s pondering however in any other case it is all a multitude with no constant method and an actual lack of joined-up pondering.’

A authorities spokesperson mentioned: ‘The Joint Biosecurity Centre has assessed that France is a high-risk Covid vacation spot because of the circulation of variants of concern, most notably the Beta variant, which presents the best threat for UK vaccine escape.

‘With England getting into step 4 of the roadmap, and restrictions easing for double vaccinated travellers, the federal government’s prime precedence is to cease the unfold of Covid, together with defending our borders from the specter of variants.

‘The determination so as to add international locations to the Red, Amber or Green lists is made collectively by ministers, knowledgeable by the most recent scientific information and public well being recommendation and making an allowance for a variety of things.’

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.