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Double standards: Fully-vaxxed Brit expats arriving in UK from Spain discover they don’t have the same quarantine exemptions as those jabbed by NHS

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AN Olive Press reader has slammed the “double standards” imposed by UK authorities after discovering a major pitfall of visiting the UK from Spain – or indeed anywhere else in Europe.

Despite being fully vaccinated, and recognised as such under travel rules outlined on the official British government pages, there is one major downside to having been vaccinated outside of the UK.

Only those who are fully vaccinated under the NHS are exempt from self-isolating if they are contacted through the ‘test and trace’ scheme.

The UK insists that all travellers arriving in the UK must fill in a Health Locator Form as well as passing the test requirements – which now insist on a PCR test on Day 2 after arrival in Britain but also those who are fully vaccinated with approved vaccination scheme to avoid self-isolation or quarantine.

However, if someone who was seated near you on the airplane tests positive on their day 2 test, new arrivals could be contacted under the NHS ‘test and trace’ programme.

This poses no problem for those who are double jabbed in the UK as they fall under the list of “exemptions” from the need for quarantine.

But this does not apply to those who were double jabbed outside the NHS, according to the rules outlined on the website.

Captura De Pantalla 460
Rules stated on the NHS test and trace show exemptions only given to those vaccinated under the NHS.

One reader contacted the Olive Press to describe their recent experience:

“I travelled to the UK from Spain on 1st October. Four days later I received an email from NHS Test and Trace stating that I must self-isolate for 10 days because I am a close contact of somebody who has tested positive (this can only have been on my flight to the UK),” said Ellis King, a British expat living in Andalucia.

“The Test and Trace guidance states that I must self-isolate unless I am exempt and one of the exemptions is that you are fully vaccinated more than 14 days ago. However, this only applies if you were vaccinated in the UK. This is not made clear prior to complete NHS Test and Trace information, nor is it something that I believe many travellers are aware of before visiting the UK.” 

He continued: “The UK is discriminating against those vaccinated anywhere else in the world, despite these exact vaccines being approved and used in the UK. My EU vaccine certificate is sufficient to grant me entry into the UK, but not to prevent me from having to self-isolate – there is absolutely no basis for this. No scientific evidence, no medical guidance.

King expressed absolute fury about the double standards and said it had ruined his trip home.

“This is a ridiculous, discriminatory ruling. I have been double vaccinated in Andalucía with the Moderna vaccine, which is an MHRA approved vaccine also being used in the UK. If a different passenger on the same plane as me was vaccinated with exactly the same Moderna vaccine as myself, but in the UK, they would not need to self-isolate.”

 He warned other travellers to be aware of the conditions, which could potentially ruin a trip back to the UK. Ellis for one said he wasn’t go repeat it.

“With Christmas soon approaching, I have now decided that it is simply not worth the trouble of returning to visit my family over the festive period, in case I once again receive said Test and Trace email (highly likely).

“Anybody staying less than 10 days would need to extend their stay and change their flights to complete the full period of isolation out of their own pocket, purely because the UK discriminates against those vaccinated abroad.”

Got a story? Get in touch newsdesk@theolivepress.es

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Coronavirus

Nightclubs in Murcia area of Spain can return to full capacity this Saturday

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MURCIA nightclubs and function rooms have been allowed by the regional Supreme Court to use EU COVID certificates in order to achieve 100% capacity.

The move comes into force this Saturday from midnight and runs initially until November 12.

It will be reviewed a few days beforehand and any changes will take account of the latest coronavirus infection rates.

The regional government needed legal approval for the change and submitted the proposal to the Supreme Court this week.

Night venues and function rooms can now return to pre-pandemic capacity on a voluntary basis.

Certificates will have to be presented at the door and businesses have to be in a municipality that is at a low or medium COVID alert level.

The current general capacity limit of 75% can be maintained without the need for people to show the EU document.

The court ruling does not change anything for the general hospitality sector, where the indoor capacity also remains at 75%.

Image Credit: Cordon Press

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Andalucia

Two wings in Spanish prison go into lockdown due to major COVID-19 outbreak

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TWO wings in a Spanish prison have gone into lockdown with dozens of inmates isolating due to a major coronavirus outbreak.

There are currently 31 confirmed cases of the virus at Malaga II prison in Archidona.

Prison authorities said that while the number of cases has jumped, the virus is ‘controlled’ and that most of the cases amongst inmates are mild or asymptomatic cases.

As a precautionary measure, all of the inmates in wings 1 and 4 of the nick are currently isolating but no mass testing is being carried out.

Prisoners in lockdown typically do not have access to court or solicitor visits, family visits, or use of the gym but according to a statement from the prison officers’ union, the CCOO, there are concerns that the lockdown restrictions at the Malaga prison have not gone far enough.

The union said that while wings 1 and 4 have now been locked down ‘there is great concern among the workforce about the size of the outbreak’. 

In a statement, the CCOO said: “It is not ruled out that this figure will increase, due to the degree of mobility within the prison that the affected persons have.

“No detection tests have been carried out on them, so the real repercussions of the outbreak among the prison staff is unknown.

“The fact that an outbreak of this size occurs in a facility where the majority of the prison population and staff are vaccinated, is indicative that something is not being done properly to prevent Covid from returning to prisons.

“Special prevention measures should be maintained, such as periodic testing of prisoners and staff.”

“The fact that an outbreak of this size occurs in a facility where the majority of the prison population and staff are vaccinated, is indicative that something is not being done properly to prevent Covid from returning to prisons.

It is the latest outbreak at Malaga nick after it struggled to cope with the disease when it was at its peak in 2020.

Prison authorities have confirmed there has been a coronavirus outbreak but say ‘it is under control’.

They said: “The vast majority of them have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic as they are vaccinated. 

“It was immediately brought to the attention of the Junta de Andalucia health authorities and we operate under their criteria, both to carry out testing and by following their protocols.”

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Booster shots

Early boosters set for people injected with Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines in Spain

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NEARLY two million people in Spain injected this year with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are set to be bumped up the list to get a booster shot.

The move has been recommended to Spain’s Public Health Commission by vaccination experts.

Many parts of the country have already started or will start shortly offering booster injections to everybody aged 70 and over.

Experts believe that the efficacy of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine administered to 1,970,836 people is waning faster than other brands used since the start of the year.

It’s now anticipated that the Public Health Commission will approve boosters for that group, once elderly and vulnerable people have got their third shot.

Spain offered the Johnson vaccine to people aged over 40, especially in the 50 to 59 year range.

It was also administered to homeless people, undocumented migrants, Spaniards working abroad, and prisoners.

Vaccine experts said that the Johnson formula’s efficacy was up to 20% lower than the Pfizer and Moderna formulas.

Spain will be using Pfizer for all booster injections, irrespective of what people were given earlier this year.

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