The UK government has announced that arrivals from Spain to the United Kingdom will be required to Quarantine and Self-Isolate for 14 days upon entry into the country.
The move comes as COVID-19 cases in Spain increasing, with the reimposition of quarantine expected to be formally announced later this evening by the UK Government, coming into force at 23:00GMT 25th July/00:00BST 26th July.
Spain is being removed from the travel corridors list too.
The Department of Transport advises
People currently on holiday in Spain are encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the FCO’s travel advice pages on GOV.UK for further information.
FCO is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain – this does not cover the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands because travel advice is based on the risk to the individual traveller and COVID-19 infection rates are lower there than mainland Spain.
People will still need to self-isolate when returning from anywhere in Spain as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands because self-isolation arrangements are put in place on the basis of risk to the UK as a whole.
Already, the First Minister of Scotland – Nicola Sturgeon has tweeted that travellers returning to Scotland from Spain will be required to do this:
Having reviewed the latest data earlier today, @scotgov is also reimposing 14 day quarantine for travellers returning from Spain. This reinforces the point that these matters are subject to change at short notice & so my advice is to be cautious about non essential foreign travel https://t.co/9xSnyFCv77
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 25, 2020
— Scottish Government (@scotgov) July 25, 2020
From 25 July, the FCO advises against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. 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.
This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).
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 25 July 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.
The UK Deparment of Transport adds
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.
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.
Airlines are beginning to react the news
- EasyJet will continue to operate a full service
- British Airways is planning to operating a full service
- TUI is suspending flights to from the UK to Spain and the Canary Islands
Some general thoughts
- If you’re planning to travel and if you want a refund – you must wait for the tour operator to cancel, as per the advice listed here by Which?
- If you’re in Spain and are returning TONIGHT, you are strongly encouraged to get tested for COVID-19 upon your return to the United Kingdom
- If you’re in Spain and are returning after today (25th July), you will need to Quarantine yourself upon arrival back into the United Kingdom for 14 days.
Whilst the tourist industry was starting to gear up for a summer season, it seems that the spikes have been enough for travel advice to be changed.
The fallout from this could be tough – with Spain a popular destination for UK tourists to soak up the summer sun, with operators having to scramble to adjust holidays and flight plans.
Economy Class and Beyond is monitoring the story – this article will be updated through the evening
- Update 1 adds FCO.gov.uk updated
- Update 2 adds Department of Transport Advice and Press Quotes.
- Update 3 adds initial airline reaction
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