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US issues ‘do not travel’ warning for Spain due to rising Delta cases

The United States on Monday warned against travel to Spain and other countries due to their rising Covid infection rates, while also maintaining restrictions on entry to the US from Spain and other Schengen nations.

US issues 'do not travel' warning for Spain due to rising Delta cases
American Airlines planes taxi at Miami International Airport. Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

The United States has announced it would maintain restrictions on international travel into the country, sidestepping European pressure, pointing to a surge of cases of the Covid-19 Delta variant at home and abroad.

“We will maintain existing travel restrictions at this point,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters.

“The more transmissible Delta variant is spreading both here and around the world.”

The US ban currently bans non-US citizens who have recently visited the UK, 26 Schengen countries (including Spain), as well as Brazil, Ireland, India, Iran China and South Africa.

In its latest advisories, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended avoiding travel to Spain and Portugal, two popular destinations for American tourists, due to growing cases of Covid-19.

The United States issued the same guidance for Cyprus and Kyrgyzstan, a week after also recommending against travel to Britain, the top international destination for US travelers after Mexico and Canada in 2019.

The ‘do not travel’ advisories by the US State Department follow the decision by the US’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to update the travel advisory for Spain and other countries to “Level Four: Very High”, which states Americans should avoid travel to these travel destinations. 

FIND OUT MORE: US reclassifies Spain again – What does it mean for American travellers?

Spain reopened to fully vaccinated American tourists in early June and then included the United States on its list of non-EU countries which are exempt from all Covid travel restrictions.

Covid cases have also been rising again in the United States, overwhelmingly due to the Delta variant among people who have not been
vaccinated despite the wide availability of doses.

Psaki said the White House projected that Covid cases would keep rising “in the weeks ahead.”

Asked how travel restrictions would help, Psaki said, “Yes, it is the dominant variant in the United States. That doesn’t mean that having more
people who have the Delta variant is the right step.”

The United States has restricted travel from the European Union, Britain, China and Iran for more than a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, later adding other countries including Brazil and India.

The European Union in June opened up to travelers from the United States, typically requiring proof of vaccination or negative tests, under pressure from tourism-dependent nations such as Greece, Spain and Italy that feared another bare season.

EU leaders have asked the United States to show reciprocity, and President Joe Biden on July 15th said he would have an answer on the issue “within the next several days” after appeals by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The United States makes widespread exceptions including for students, scholars, journalists and businesspeople, but European leaders have complained that the regulations inconvenience ordinary people and hinder transatlantic trade.

Top US government scientist Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that the United States is “going in the wrong direction” and repeated appeals for hesitant people to get vaccinated.

“It certainly is in retreat among the vaccinated,” Fauci told CNN.

“It’s like you have two kinds of America. You have the very vulnerable unvaccinated part and you have the really relatively protected vaccinated part.”

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TRAVEL NEWS

Ryanair strikes: Which Spanish airports are most affected?

Ryanair cabin crew in Spain resumed strike action on Monday. But which airports will be affected, and how long will it last?

Ryanair strikes: Which Spanish airports are most affected?

Ryanair’s long-running cabin crew walkout dispute returned to Spanish airports this Monday, 8th August. 

With several strikes throughout June and July, the union representing striking workers, Unión Sindical Obrera (USO), announced today that the industrial action will continue for five months – until 7 January 2023 – and take place every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday until then.

READ MORE: Ryanair cabin crew in Spain begin latest round of strike action

During the first two weeks alone, it is anticipated that 1.4 million passengers will be affected – an average of 130,600 travellers every single day.

Which airports will be affected?

The budget Irish airline, a favourite of holidaymakers from Britain and Ireland, has operational bases across Spain and all could be affected by strike action throughout the rest of the year.

If you have booked a Ryanair flight to any of the following airports, keep in mind strike action will be happening on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through the summer and likely until the end of the year if no agreement is made between striking staff and employers. 

Ryanair bases in Spain: Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona El-Prat, ​​Girona, Santiago de Compostela, Alicante, Palma, Ibiza, Malaga, Seville, Valencia, and Palma de Mallorca. 

The airports that will be most affected by the latest walk-outs are: Madrid-Barajas, Barcelona-El Prat, Malaga, Alicante, Seville and Palma de Mallorca.

Both domestic and international flights will be disrupted, and with 650 routes, Ryanair has the highest passenger volume in the Spanish air travel market.

READ MORE: Airport chaos in Europe: Airlines cancel 15,000 flights in August

Strikes

By 9am on the morning of Monday 8th, 61 flights had been affected by the latest wave of staff walkouts, with 10 cancellations and 111 delayed flights.

Unions demands include the immediate reinstatement of 11 workers who were sacked for taking part in strike action in July, an improvement to pay and working conditions, including putting salaries back to pre-pandemic level, and aligning the collective bargaining agreement with Spanish labour legislation.

Since the summer strike action began, there have been 16 total days of walkouts, which have caused over 300 cancellations and a 3,455 delays at Ryanair’s Spanish base airports. 

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