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Coronavirus: UK brings back 14-day quarantine for Spain

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Many Britons have homes in Spain – and it is also popular with tourists

Travellers returning to the UK from Spain after midnight tonight will have to quarantine for 14 days, the government has said.

The decision came following a significant spike in coronavirus cases in Spain, with more than 900 new cases of the virus reported on Friday.

Spanish officials have also warned a second wave could be imminent as major cities have seen cases surge.

The UK government said public health was an “absolute priority”.

“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,” a government spokesperson said.

Quarantine measures for UK travellers 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 Department for Transport is urging employers to be “understanding of those returning from Spain who now will need to self-isolate”.

But Labour’s shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called the government to explain in detail how it will support those affected, adding that the news will be “deeply concerning for families who are in caught in Spain or are planning travel”.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted that the decision was made after reviewing the latest data earlier on Saturday.

“This reinforces the point that these matters are subject to change at short notice and so my advice is to be cautious about non-essential foreign travel,” she said.


What’s happening in Spain?

Spain has so far seen more than 28,000 coronavirus deaths. On Thursday, it saw the biggest biggest daily increase in infections since its lockdown ended.

Catalonia has become the latest region to crack down on nightlife. The wealthy north-east region, which is home to Barcelona, ordered all nightclubs to close for two weeks and put a midnight curfew on bars in the greater Barcelona area.

The BBC’s Guy Hedgecoe in Madrid says contagion among young people is a particular worry, as they have been gathering in large numbers in cities at night.

France has warned its citizens not to travel to Catalonia while Norway has said it will start quarantining people arriving from Spain.


The Airport Operators Association said the new measures will “further damage what is already a fragile restart of the aviation sector which continues to face the biggest challenge in its history”.

The new rules for Spain come a day after five other destinations were added to England’s quarantine-free list.

Anyone coming to England from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will not have to isolate for two weeks on arrival, the government confirmed on Friday.

‘Devastated’

John Blackmore, from Hampshire, was due to fly out to his family in Spain with his wife and two young children. But the new rules mean he has had to cancel, for fears his wife’s employer would not be able to accommodate her taking an extra two weeks off to quarantine on their return.

He said it was unlikely they would get a refund for the flight, as it has not been cancelled.

“I’m devastated,” he told the BBC. “I have family in Spain who haven’t seen their only grandkids since Christmas.”


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