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Coronavirus Updates: Spain Still on UK’s Amber List, Record Decrease in Unemployment in May, New Restrictions and More

Coronavirus Updates: Spain Still on UK’s Amber List, Record Decrease in Unemployment in May, New Restrictions and More
Image: Freepik | DearExpat,
Coronavirus Updates: Spain Still on UK’s Amber List, Record Decrease in Unemployment in May, New Restrictions and More
Image: Freepik | DearExpat,

The Covid-19 pandemic is behind this week’s most relevant news. On the one hand, the 14-day cumulative incidence maintains a downward trend and now stands at 118.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Over 17 million people have already received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and almost nine million people are fully immunized. That means that 20% of people in Spain are protected against the virus. Health Ministry Carolina Darias announced this week a record 4,6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in the coming days.

Despite the positive data points, the UK government has decided not to include Spain on its green list of Covid-safe countries, dealing a blow to the ailing Spanish tourism sector, which was hoping that at least the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, where incidence rates are low, would be spared. But Spain is not alone. No new country has made it onto the list, and Portugal, the only European green-listed country, and a mainstream tourist destination, has been moved to the amber list due to an increase of cases. Travel from the UK is not banned, but the UK government is encouraging people not to fly to risky destinations in a bid to stem the spread of the much more contagious and dangerous Delta variant, first detected in India. British people wishing to come to Spain will have to think it twice as they will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival to the UK and provide at least two negative PCR tests. The UK traffic-light system will be updated on June 24. 

Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto showed surprise at the announcement during an interview at the Cadena Ser radio station and tied the decision to fears that a laxer approach to foreign travel would bring in new variants to the UK, which is expecting to put an end to most social restrictions on June 21. 

On the other side of the coin, from May 24, travellers from the UK can visit Spain without the need for a negative Covid test. And from Monday onwards, people vaccinated against Covid-19 from anywhere in the world can enter Spain provided they have received the vaccine at least 14 days before their arrival. 

The vaccination rollout, “the best economic policy.”

This is the mantra Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has been using to ward off criticism and encourage patience among weary Spaniards. Thankfully, on the macroeconomic front, Spain is off to a good start this month after a record-breaking unemployment decrease since the collection of statistical data began in 1996. 

On Wednesday, the Labor and Social Security ministries announced that 129,378 people have found work since April. Unemployment in Spain now stands at 3.78 million. Although we are far from the pre-pandemic number of Social Security contributors, there is no denying this is a good sign. The main drop was registered in the tourism and hospitality sectors, especially in Andalusia, Catalonia, and Valencia, followed up by the industry, agriculture, and construction sectors. People under 25 years have benefited the most (9.27%). “The Spanish economy has entered a new phase, the recovery is underway, and that is what all economic indicators are telling us,” said Economy Minister Nadia Calviño on Wednesday. Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz made emphasis on the critical role the ERTE job retention schemes have played during the health crisis.

The Janssen Vaccine 

The Spanish Public Health Commission announced on Tuesday that the one-shot vaccine by Janssen, a company that belongs to the pharma company Johnson & Johnson, will be used to inoculate people in the 40-49 age group, which represents 7.9 million people in Spain. The use of this vaccine is paramount to accelerate the vaccination drive and meet the objective of having 70% of people immunized by mid-August. 

However, it is not yet clear there will be enough doses of the one-shot vaccine due to manufacturing delays. Like the AstraZeneca jab, now being used to inoculate people over 60 years of age, the Janssen vaccine was put on hold due to blood-clot concerns among younger people, but the side effects of the latter are much less likely, which is why it was decided to use it on the 40-49 age group. In Spain, only four deaths have been registered among the five million people who received the Janssen jab. In the face of delays, the RNA Messenger vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech will be used instead on younger age groups, which means by the time the Janssen vaccines arrive, they may be no longer necessary. 

New Coronavirus Restrictions

Nearly a month after the state of alarm was lifted, putting an end to nighttime curfews and a ban on inter-regional travel, new restrictions are being put in place. Health Ministry Carolina Darias and regional health authorities met on Wednesday to agree on rules for all Spanish regions regarding the hospitality sector and nightclubs. Regions with a 14-day cumulative incidence below 50 will be able to open nightclubs until 3:00 am. Only the Balearic Islands, Valencia and Ceuta meet this requirement. 

The Declaration of Coordinated Actions Against Covid-19 includes traffic light system with extreme, high, medium, low, and new normality levels and restrictive measures for nightlife opening hours and capacity at establishments, but only in areas with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The measures will be mandatory until 70% of the Spanish population are fully vaccinated, including all people aged over 50.

Bars and restaurants will be able to remain open until 1 am and music barsnightclubs, and discos until 2 am, but in areas, with a low incidence rate, the limit will be extended until 3 am. As for capacity, a maximum of 10 people per table both outdoors and outdoors has been established.

But not everyone is happy with these restrictions. All the regions governed by the People’s Party, among which are Madrid, Andalusia, and Galicia, voted against the measures. Isabel Díaz Ayuso is again sticking to her guns and said she will not abide by the rules despite warnings by Health Minister Carolina Darias that the measures are legally binding.   

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published on Fridays to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go.
Sign up to Dearexpat,

The Covid-19 pandemic is behind this week’s most relevant news. On the one hand, the 14-day cumulative incidence maintains a downward trend and now stands at 118.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Over 17 million people have already received one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, and almost nine million people are fully immunized. That means that 20% of people in Spain are protected against the virus. Health Ministry Carolina Darias announced this week a record 4,6 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines will arrive in the coming days.

Despite the positive data points, the UK government has decided not to include Spain on its green list of Covid-safe countries, dealing a blow to the ailing Spanish tourism sector, which was hoping that at least the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, where incidence rates are low, would be spared. But Spain is not alone. No new country has made it onto the list, and Portugal, the only European green-listed country, and a mainstream tourist destination, has been moved to the amber list due to an increase of cases. Travel from the UK is not banned, but the UK government is encouraging people not to fly to risky destinations in a bid to stem the spread of the much more contagious and dangerous Delta variant, first detected in India. British people wishing to come to Spain will have to think it twice as they will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival to the UK and provide at least two negative PCR tests. The UK traffic-light system will be updated on June 24. 

Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto showed surprise at the announcement during an interview at the Cadena Ser radio station and tied the decision to fears that a laxer approach to foreign travel would bring in new variants to the UK, which is expecting to put an end to most social restrictions on June 21. 

On the other side of the coin, from May 24, travellers from the UK can visit Spain without the need for a negative Covid test. And from Monday onwards, people vaccinated against Covid-19 from anywhere in the world can enter Spain provided they have received the vaccine at least 14 days before their arrival. 

The vaccination rollout, “the best economic policy.”

This is the mantra Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has been using to ward off criticism and encourage patience among weary Spaniards. Thankfully, on the macroeconomic front, Spain is off to a good start this month after a record-breaking unemployment decrease since the collection of statistical data began in 1996. 

On Wednesday, the Labor and Social Security ministries announced that 129,378 people have found work since April. Unemployment in Spain now stands at 3.78 million. Although we are far from the pre-pandemic number of Social Security contributors, there is no denying this is a good sign. The main drop was registered in the tourism and hospitality sectors, especially in Andalusia, Catalonia, and Valencia, followed up by the industry, agriculture, and construction sectors. People under 25 years have benefited the most (9.27%). “The Spanish economy has entered a new phase, the recovery is underway, and that is what all economic indicators are telling us,” said Economy Minister Nadia Calviño on Wednesday. Labour Minister Yolanda Díaz made emphasis on the critical role the ERTE job retention schemes have played during the health crisis.

The Janssen Vaccine 

The Spanish Public Health Commission announced on Tuesday that the one-shot vaccine by Janssen, a company that belongs to the pharma company Johnson & Johnson, will be used to inoculate people in the 40-49 age group, which represents 7.9 million people in Spain. The use of this vaccine is paramount to accelerate the vaccination drive and meet the objective of having 70% of people immunized by mid-August. 

However, it is not yet clear there will be enough doses of the one-shot vaccine due to manufacturing delays. Like the AstraZeneca jab, now being used to inoculate people over 60 years of age, the Janssen vaccine was put on hold due to blood-clot concerns among younger people, but the side effects of the latter are much less likely, which is why it was decided to use it on the 40-49 age group. In Spain, only four deaths have been registered among the five million people who received the Janssen jab. In the face of delays, the RNA Messenger vaccines, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech will be used instead on younger age groups, which means by the time the Janssen vaccines arrive, they may be no longer necessary. 

New Coronavirus Restrictions

Nearly a month after the state of alarm was lifted, putting an end to nighttime curfews and a ban on inter-regional travel, new restrictions are being put in place. Health Ministry Carolina Darias and regional health authorities met on Wednesday to agree on rules for all Spanish regions regarding the hospitality sector and nightclubs. Regions with a 14-day cumulative incidence below 50 will be able to open nightclubs until 3:00 am. Only the Balearic Islands, Valencia and Ceuta meet this requirement. 

The Declaration of Coordinated Actions Against Covid-19 includes traffic light system with extreme, high, medium, low, and new normality levels and restrictive measures for nightlife opening hours and capacity at establishments, but only in areas with more than 10,000 inhabitants. The measures will be mandatory until 70% of the Spanish population are fully vaccinated, including all people aged over 50.

Bars and restaurants will be able to remain open until 1 am and music barsnightclubs, and discos until 2 am, but in areas, with a low incidence rate, the limit will be extended until 3 am. As for capacity, a maximum of 10 people per table both outdoors and outdoors has been established.

But not everyone is happy with these restrictions. All the regions governed by the People’s Party, among which are Madrid, Andalusia, and Galicia, voted against the measures. Isabel Díaz Ayuso is again sticking to her guns and said she will not abide by the rules despite warnings by Health Minister Carolina Darias that the measures are legally binding.   

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published every Friday to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the previous week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go. Sign up to Dearexpat,

Dearexpat, is aimed at English-speaking readers who have been living in Spain for long enough to be interested in the country’s current affairs, with a focus on politics, the economy, society, and culture. In fact, anyone, anywhere with a keen interest in Spain might find it helpful. Since we are usually overwhelmed by an endless outpouring of news, this newsletter will be published every Friday to provide readers with an overview of the most noteworthy events taking place during the previous week.

Get up to date with what is going on in Spain in just one go. Sign up to Dearexpat,