Finally, after months of speculation, the UK government has cautiously granted the Balearics green light status meaning that British holidaymakers will not have to quarantine on their return to the home country.
Some weeks ago, I was commissioned by the Telegraph to write a guide to the Balearics in anticipation of the announcement. The piece was due to appear on the great day but news came that it wasn’t going to happen after all so it was put on ice. Last Thursday, my editor got in touch to say that the article was going live as word had it that the Balearic islands would get the go ahead and this time they did. Phew. All the same, there are some thorny issues which need to be addressed before popping the champagne corks.
Firstly, Boris Johnson has insidiously mumbled that both Madeira and the Balearics will on a new green ‘watch list’ which could see both or either lose green status in a whisper. This would transport them back to amber so cold comfort to Britons who take the risk. It could mean that in the midst of their holidays they’d have to urgently flee the country to get back home before a curfew was imposed.
Secondly, the Spanish government in its wisdom has told those entering the country from the UK that they are not required to have PCR tests. This is therefore a disaster waiting to happen. Rather like the dreaded Trojan horse scenario, hordes of Britons could arrive untested and spread the new Delta variant hither and thither. We would then see Covid cases rocket, and we’d be back on amber or red before you could shout sangria.
The Spanish government must insist on PCRs for all Britons entering the country for the sake of self-preservation. The summer season hangs on a thread and we cannot afford to allow a new Covid strain to take hold and set us back months. Spain understandably wants to keep the UK on side as it desperately needs tourism but it cannot permit Britons to spread infection over here. Let’s hope it sees sense before the invasion.
While Boris Johnson and his playground chums, Hancock and the Sage committee, enjoy frustrating the EU by not allowing them to share their toys, certain members of the EU are getting their own back. Germany and France are now refusing to allow Britons into their countries and urging other EU members to do likewise. Understandably, they are furious that the British government is arrogantly dictating to Europe how and when its citizens might grace it with their presence in the full assumption that they’ll be welcome.
However, the UK, for all its crowing about being the most vaccinated nation on the planet, now has one of the very highest covid-19 infection rates. How so? Wasn’t the miracle vaccine supposed to have brought back normality to our lives? Something seems very awry. More to the point, Europe should indeed enforce strict testing before UK citizens enter its zone.
Do we all want the Delta variant polluting our shores? If so, that could wipe out tourism effectively for another season or longer. It’s laughable that the UK believes that it is immune to the same criteria that it is imposing on other countries in the eurozone. Europe needs to set clear guidelines once and for all. UK citizens are of course welcome to holiday in Europe but they must arrive having had a PCR test.
This isn’t spiteful or an attempt to ape the UK’s current puerile behaviour and testosterone-fuelled posturing towards Europe. It’s not tit-for-tat, rather that we need UK arrivals tested so that we can all stay safe and well.
In a rush and late for a pilates class, I parked in the local sports centre car park in Soller and ran up the hill (hobbled, rather, as currently have broken toe) inadvertently and unknowingly dropping my iPhone near the car. I returned an hour later to find a friendly handwritten note on my windscreen informing me that a passer-by had found my mobile and taken it to the sports centre reception.
One of the thoughtful members of staff had walked all the way to my car to leave a note of reassurance. I picked up my phone from reception and thanked them profusely for being so kind and helpful. The staff members smiled and nodded but evidently didn’t think they’d done anything special or out of the ordinary but they had. The wrong person could have pocketed my phone or maybe a team member might have not bothered to let me know. Truth is they were all good eggs who went the extra mile for a stranger and for that I was so touched and grateful.
We always hear of terrible deeds and of selfish and evil people on our streets but so rarely do we learn about those valiantly making a difference in their everyday lives. We need to give more credit to these heroes. The people who prevent others having a day of anxiety and stress or worse. Small deeds have a big impact. None of us should ever forget that.