As fury grows in the travel industry about what one figure called the “yo-yoing“ government policy on holidays, Europe’s worst coronavirus hotspot has a green light for travel.
According to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the infection rate in Luxembourg is 1,382 per cent higher than the UK’s.
The 14-day cumulative number of Covid-19 cases per 100,000 in Luxembourg is 222.4, compared with 15 for the UK.
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The infection rate is so high that citizens of the Grand Duchy are not allowed to stay in Lithuania — and even transiting the Baltic republic requires a coronavirus-negative certificate.
The corresponding figure for Spain, which is now deemed to pose “an unacceptably high risk for British travellers,” is 47.3 — or 215 per cent higher than the UK.
On Monday the Foreign Office warned against travel to Spain’s islands as well as the mainland, saying: “This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of Covid-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia.”
Luxembourg’s R reinfection number increased on Tuesday to 1.03, which indicates cases are accelerating.
But despite the infection rate in the Grand Duchy being so high, the Foreign Office says: “Luxembourg is exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.
“This is based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.”
Travel industry veteran Paul Goldstein, who normally leads wildlife photography groups in Africa and Asia, said: “I have lost all faith in our travel advice. The goalposts shift daily.
“Uganda has had two deaths, Tanzania 21, Kenya under 300. I cannot travel there or indeed anywhere on the whole African continent.
“Yet I can go to Luxembourg, which has an infection rate 14 times the already high UK. How is this defensible?”
The Grand Duchy is the only country in western Europe on the German list of international risk areas.
At the end of February 2020, just before the coronavirus pandemic took hold, Luxembourg made headlines when it became the first country in the world to offer completely free public transport.
Meanwhile the British Airline Pilots’ Association has said the UK government’s travel advice is “neither protecting the public nor inspiring confidence”.
The general secretary of the pilots’ union, Brian Strutton, said: “The travelling public needs clarity. Constantly moving the goal posts and blacklisting whole countries, when only certain regions are a risk, does not help.”