Travellers returning to any of the UK nations from Spain after midnight tonight will have to self-isolate for 14 days, the Department for Transport confirmed tonight. It comes after the country reported more than 900 new daily infections over the past two days, with Catalonia and Aragon experiencing the worst spike. The Government said the quarantine rules would apply to people returning from anywhere in Spain.
This includes the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands such as Palma and Ibiza.
The news has not only devastated the travel industry but has dashed some Britons’ holiday plans for the summer.
A spokesperson from the Department for Transport said: “The Joint Biosecurity Centre together with Public Health England have updated their coronavirus assessments of Spain based on the latest data.
“As a result, Spain has been removed from the lists of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempted from the need to self-isolate.
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“Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK.
“We’ve always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country where necessary.
“Both our list of quarantine exemptions and the FCO travel advice are being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments.”
The Foreign Office (FCO) has also updated its advice.
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It is now advising against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain due to their recent assessment of COVID-19 risks.
However, it added: “Only the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) are exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.”
The latest advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of coronavirus in several regions of Spain.
But cases in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, which include the country’s third-largest city of Barcelona, have been particularly prevalent.
Spain holidays: The move has sparked backlash from angry Britons who had booked holidays
The latest move from the government has sparked backlash from angry Britons who had booked holidays for the coming months.
One individual said the advice was confusing.
They said on Twitter: “It’s not that confusing though is it? You can’t go on holiday to mainland Spain, but you can to the islands…. however, you must isolate on your return for 14 days, so book a month off if you’re going to Ibiza. Simple, no?”
Another said on the site: “Just as we book a holiday to Spain literally three days ago you now have to quarantine for two weeks so that = we can’t go.”
Another said: “Definitely not a good idea to go on holiday to Spain at the moment.”
International travel post-lockdown
The FCO advice added: “The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time.
“Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.
“If you are returning from mainland Spain after July 26 you will be required to quarantine on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit.
“You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.
“PHE are continuing to monitor the situation in the Balearic and Canary Islands closely. Travellers there should continue to check this advice regularly.”