Image copyright EPA Image caption Many Britons own homes in Spain – and it is also popular with tourists
Travelers returning from the UK from Spain after midnight will have to be quarantined for 14 days, the government said.
The decision came after an increase in coronavirus cases in Spain, with more than 900 new cases reported on Friday.
Spanish authorities have also warned that a second wave may be imminent, as large cities have seen cases rise.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against all trips, except essential ones, to mainland Spain.
“Protecting public health is our top priority and we made that decision to limit any possible spread to the UK,” said a spokesman for the Department of Transport.
“We have always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country [from quarantine exemptions list] where necessary. “
The spokesman said that people on holiday in Spain should follow local rules, return home normally and check the Foreign Office travel advice website for more information.
Quarantine measures will be applied to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Palma and Ibiza. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ recommendations against non-essential travel, which have implications for travel insurance, apply only to mainland Spain.
Among those affected is Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who began his holiday in Spain on Saturday. He must continue his trip as planned and isolate himself according to his return directions.
The government is asking employers to “understand those who return from Spain and who now need to isolate themselves”.
But Labor’s shadow secretary, Nick Thomas-Symonds, asked the government to explain in detail how it would support those affected, adding that the news would be “deeply worrying for families who are trapped in Spain or are planning to travel.”
Scottish Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the decision was made after reviewing the latest data on Saturday.
“This reinforces the fact that these issues are subject to change in the short term and therefore my advice is to be cautious on non-essential trips abroad,” she said.
What is happening in Spain?
So far, Spain has seen more than 28,000 deaths from coronavirus. On Thursday, there was the biggest daily increase in infections since the end of his block.
Catalonia has become the most recent region to suppress nightlife. The rich northeastern region, which is home to Barcelona, ordered all nightclubs to close for two weeks and place a midnight curfew in bars in the Barcelona region.
The BBC’s Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid says that contagion among young people is a particular concern, as they accumulate in large numbers in cities at night.
France has warned its citizens not to travel to Catalonia, while Norway has said it will begin quarantining people arriving from Spain.
Quarantine measures for UK travelers were introduced in early June. But, after pressure from the aviation and travel industries, the government and devolved administrations published lists of countries exempt from the rules.
The Association of Airport Operators said the new measures “would further damage what is already a fragile restart for the aviation sector, which continues to face the biggest challenge in its history”.
Budget EasyJet said it was “disappointed” and will operate a full schedule in the coming days.
“Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the amount of the reservation,” the company said in a statement.
However, the UK’s largest tour operator, Tui, canceled its flights to mainland Spain and the Canary Islands on Sunday. Customers on vacation will be able to return on their intended flight home.
A spokesman for the British Association of Travel Agents (ABTA) said the government’s quarantine rule change was “disappointing”.
“We suggest that the government consider suspending quarantine rules for flights to and from certain regions with lower infection rates or to places like the Balearic Islands or the Canaries – geographically distinct from mainland Spain – to prevent further damage to the UK’s entry. and outbound tourism industries, “he said.
Image copyright Lois Stothard Image caption Lois Stothard planned a surprise trip for her boyfriend James Allott, but had to cancel
The new rules for Spain come a day after five other destinations have been added to the England’s quarantined list.
Anyone coming to England from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will not need to isolate themselves for two weeks after their arrival, the government confirmed on Friday.
John Blackmore, from Hampshire, was to fly to his family in Spain with his wife and two young children. But the new rules mean he had to cancel, for fear that his wife’s employer would not be able to accommodate her by taking two more weeks off quarantine on his return.
He said he thought it unlikely that they would receive a refund for the flight because it was not canceled.
“I am devastated,” he told the BBC. “I have a family in Spain that hasn’t seen their only grandchildren since Christmas.”
Lois Stothard of South Yorkshire told the BBC that she had booked a holiday in Seville as a surprise for her boyfriend’s 30th birthday – which he is due out on Sunday morning – but now he feels he cannot travel.
“I’m a key worker – I’m a teacher – and my boyfriend has work commitments, so we can’t be quarantined for 14 days when we get back,” she said.
“We cannot get any money back and, to change, the company wants twice what I have already paid in fees. I am very disappointed and upset that we are full and ready to go.”
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