Spain has been removed from the travellers’ quarantine exemption list following a spike in Covid-19. This means that the 600,000 British holidaymakers hoping to enjoy a relaxing time under the Spanish sun will have to face a 14-day quarantine on their return to all four nations of the UK. This includes travellers from Mallorca, all the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
This sudden measure has been put into place without any warning and will take place from midnight tonight (26th July) due to a spike in coronavirus cases in Spain.
The move will affect thousands of holidaymakers who had been buoyed by the introduction of the airbridge between countries, to go on holiday to the Mediterranean hotspot after recent advice by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said it is okay to do so as Spain was on the ‘corridor’ list. Indeed Shapps himself is currently on holiday in Spain and has been caught off guard by the government’s decision.
Nightclubs have already been closed in Catalonia for two weeks amid fears of a spike. Around Barcelona, which includes popular destinations such as Sitges, Girona and Lloret del Mar, the number of cases has tripled recently.
The move affects those already in Spain and those that have returned in the last few days are likely to be offered a coronavirus test.
Travel company TUI, cancelled all holidays to Spain in response to this announcement until 9th August.
The 14-day self-isolation rule has come on the heels of the news that Spain has seen a surge in new cases of Coronavirus in recent days. A Spanish health official warned that this could signify a second wave of Covid-19.
The foreign office is again advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain and the country has been removed from the airbridge scheme. However, this does not include the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands.
British Airways and Easyjet are going ahead with their flights. Easyjet is offering free flight changes.
In a statement EasyJet said:
‘We are monitoring the situation and in the meantime continue to provide some flexibility for if customers who, if they no longer wish to travel, can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of their booking.
‘We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days.”
Spanish Foreign Ministry say though they respect the British decision they have issued a statement to reassure that the outbreaks are being controlled and insist Spain is a safe country to visit.
This is a devastating turn for travellers and the travel industry who have been waiting for travel to open up again. How this will affect the viability of the recently compiled airbridge – designed to alleviate the need for a blanket quarantining of all travellers – is yet to be seen.
In a twist of irony Grant Shapps, the UK transport minister is currently holidaying in Spain and will have to quarantine on his return.
Travel insurance for British holidaymakers already in Spain will be unaffected and UK travellers in Spain are not being advised to leave. But the Foreign Office advice advising against all travel to the Spain mainland will find their policy is invalid.