The clusterfuck that has been the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 epidemic has taken yet another shambolic turn with the government now demanding people go into quarantine immediately upon returning from holidays in Spain and her islands. Although only three regions in Spain are been affected by the uptick in new Covid-19 cases, and there are very few cases in the Canaries and Balearic islands, prime minister Dominic Cummings has instructed Boris Johnson to change the rules without notice. As Cummings made his announcement last Friday evening through a government spokesman, four flights were lining up at Bristol airport, soon to be taking off to Spanish climes. God alone knows how those holidaymakers felt at the moment, as they sat in the departure lounge. Now, only a fool would take one of easyJet, Ryan Air and Jet 2’s flights to mainland Spain given that their holiday insurance is now invalid.
Having already lost trips to Spain and Croatia this year, we await what is going to happen to further trips we have arranged to Spain and one of its islands in the autumn months. We have determined not to fret about what’s going to happen because there is literally nothing we can do about it. But we are close to coming to the conclusion that 2021 will not feature any foreign travel.
One of the things that has given us hope is that things will be better next year. After all, Boris Johnson has said that he expects things to be back to normal by Christmas. But when Johnson speaks, my natural instinct is to believe the complete opposite to be true. The reality, as we know in our heart of hearts, is that vaccine or no vaccine, treatment or no treatment, this awful virus will be with us for the foreseeable, and quite possibly unforeseeable, future. And I can’t see 2021 being very much different from this year apart from the fact that the economy will be in ruins.
With the virus very much present, it will be impossible to predict with even the slightest degree of certainty that the holiday you book today will be available tomorrow. It is not just Spain that is showing an uptick in new cases: many countries are, including the UK where the weekly average of new infections is up by 10%. Allow for a 14 day time lag between people catching the virus and becoming ill and for all we know our spike, or even second wave, may already be upon us. What then? A third wave next spring or summer? The continuing uncertainty is concentrating our minds.
So, for 2021, it’s looking increasingly likely that we’ll be staying in Britain. A Sun holiday in May, a long-promised week in East Cornwall and a holiday in the Lake District are currently our preferred options, but no rush. If the second wave, combined with the hardest possible crash out from Europe once the transition period ends, is as bad as we fear it might be, all bets are off. Greece isn’t the word. Or Spain, for that matter.