With UK holidaymakers keen to book their summer holidays in popular European resorts such as the Costa Blanca, there has been some encouraging news out of Brussels. The EU and UK are believed to be nearing agreement on ensuring mutual recognition of their respective NHS Digital COVID Pass and EU Digital COVID Certificate.
This will greatly facilitate travel between the UK and Europe, especially following a decision this week by Spain and other countries including Portugal and Malta to tighten their travel rules.
After initially granting British tourists eased testing requirements in May, the Spanish government has now bowed to pressure from Germany and other EU countries to bring their sometimes differing travel protocols closer into alignment.
From Friday (2 July), UK tourists travelling to Spain will be required, on arrival, to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test or certified documentation that they are fully vaccinated. Full details of the new requirements, which are expected to be only temporary and hopefully brief, are available and regularly updated on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office’s GOV.UK website.
Mutual Health Certificate Recognition
In the meantime, EU and UK authorities are reportedly showing welcome signs of cooperation in working towards health certificate interoperability.
The Guardian newspaper reports that “for travellers from the UK who have had both doses of an approved vaccine, the prospect of a relatively normal summer break appears brighter, with popular destinations loath to shut the doors on those who are unlikely to be infectious. According to the latest data, 61.9 per cent of UK adults are now fully vaccinated and 84.4 per cent have had at least a first dose.
“The German government, which has enforced a 14-day quarantine on all tourists from Britain since 26 May, is yet to convince countries more dependent on tourism (such as Spain) that stringent quarantine requirements on all travellers from the UK are necessary.”
The EU certificate (which is due to come into official effect from tomorrow, 1 July) and NHS app would allow border control officers to scan a QR code and confirm a traveller’s vaccination status and right to free passage.
Locals and tourists in Spain are now allowed to go unmasked outdoors (including at the beach and pool) if they can maintain physical social distancing of at least 1.5 metres.