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Coronavirus: ‘Devastated’ travellers react to Spain quarantine rules


New coronavirus quarantine rules have come into force in the UK, requiring travellers arriving from Spain to self-isolate for 14 days. So how have holidaymakers reacted to the changes?

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Michael Wilson

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Michael Wilson and his Spanish girlfriend are on a two-week trip to visit her family in Seville

Michael Wilson, from Leeds, told the BBC the new rules would prevent his girlfriend from being able to work, and probably result in no salary for the isolation period. The couple have been in Seville since 19 July, visiting her family.

“To add insult to injury, some of the ‘surges’ being reported here in Spain have been caused by Brits partying without masks or social distancing,” he said.

Mr Wilson added that he felt it was unfair to impose quarantine measures on people entering the UK from Spain – due to the high level of compliance with coronavirus measures he has observed during his visit.

“On our occasional trips out I have observed 100% compliance with quarantine rules,” he said. “Everybody is wearing masks, not shaking hands and so on.

“People entering the UK from Spain pose significantly less risk to people in the UK than the 99% of the UK’s population that show a total disregard for lockdown and social distancing measures.”

Cancelled birthday surprise

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Lois Stothard

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Lois Stothard had planned a surprise trip for boyfriend James Allott but has had to cancel

Lois Stothard, from South Yorkshire, said she had booked a holiday to Seville as a surprise for her boyfriend’s 30th birthday – due to fly out on Sunday morning – but now feels that she cannot travel.

“I’m a key worker – I’m a teacher – and my boyfriend has work commitments so we cannot quarantine for 14 days when we return,” she said.

“We can’t get any money back and to change the company want double what I’ve already paid in fees.

“I’m very disappointed and upset as we’re packed and ready to go.”

One night holiday

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Andras Szigeti

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Dr Andras Szigeti will return home on Sunday after one night away as he cannot afford to quarantine

Dr Andras Szigeti, from Chelmsford, Essex, arrived in Spain with his partner on Saturday for a holiday, after working throughout the lockdown as a key worker.

But three minutes after they landed in Malaga, the couple received the news that they must self-isolate for 14 days upon their return to the UK.

“Since I am a private doctor and I am the main bread winner in the family, I cannot allow myself to lose half of my monthly salary,” Dr Szigeti said.

“So we decided to return tomorrow and use at least part of my holiday as quarantine.”

Dr Szigeti said they were “devastated” as the trip to Malaga had been booked as an alternative to visiting their families in Hungary, which has imposed entry requirements for people arriving from the UK.

“Now we have changed our flights for the third time and all together paid £600 for our one night trip to the sun,” he said.

Trapped in UK?

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Caren Joyce

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Caren Joyce with her two children, who were excited to see their grandparents

Caren Joyce, who lives in Alicante, Spain, is due to fly into London Gatwick on Monday, with her two teenage children, to visit her parents.

Ms Joyce said she still intended to travel because she did not want to disappoint her parents, both in their 70s, who have “had many ups and downs and felt isolated” during the pandemic.

But she called for greater clarity from the government about the new rules.

“We are only in the UK for nine day, so how does this work,” she said. “I have taken holiday from work to go and see my parents.

“Are we allowed to return to our country of residence within this 14 days?”

‘More flexible’ policy

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Lesya Liskevych

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Lesya Liskevych’s view on a near-empty Playa de las Cucharas, Costa Teguise on Friday

Meanwhile, Lesya Liskevych, from Reigate, told the BBC she believed the new quarantine rules should be “more flexible, based on the local data”.

Ms Liskevych, who is currently in Lanzarote with her husband, said: “Cases [here] are very low, masks are being worn, and it’s not very busy and perfectly manageable to maintain social distancing as the beaches and towns are not busy at all.”

She added that they had encountered very few people and felt the area was “much lower risk than the hotspots in mainland Spain”.

The quarantine measures apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Majorca and Ibiza, however Foreign Office advice – which has ramifications for travel insurance – is to avoid all but essential travel to mainland Spain.

People currently on holiday in Spain have been advised by the Department of Transport to follow the local rules, return home as normal, and check the Foreign Office’s travel advice website for further information.

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