Vacationers returning from Spain will have to quarantine for 14 days after Covid Second Wave convinces ministers that they want to remove the European country from the UK list.
The so-called “travel corridor” with Spain has been discontinued after more than 900 new daily infections have been reported in the past two days.
The decision means that those returning from the popular holiday destination will have to isolate themselves for two weeks on their return to the UK after all four administrations – England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – have chosen to join forces .
The new measures will take effect at midnight tonight.
Spain has been removed from the list of countries exempting passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from the need to isolate themselvesGovernment spokesman
A UK government spokesman said: “The Joint Biosecurity Center, together with Public Health England, has updated their coronavirus assessments of Spain based on the most recent data.
As a result, Spain has been removed from the list of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempt from the need to isolate themselves.
“Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we made this decision to limit potential spread to the UK.
“It has always been clear to us that we would take immediate action to remove a country where necessary.
“Both our list of quarantine waivers and the FCO travel advice are being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments.”
The reintroduction of quarantine measures will apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Palma and Ibiza, the Ministry of Transport (DfT) confirmed.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs now advises against all essential trips to mainland Spain.
Employers are urged by the DfT to “understand those returning from Spain who now need to isolate themselves” following the sudden change of opinion.
But the move is likely to cast doubt on the vacation plans of thousands of people, considering the risk of a trip to Spain and the need to stay home for two weeks upon arrival in Britain.
Neil Hunter, 45, from Sittingbourne, Kent, booked a 10-day vacation to Lanzarote last December.
Due to departure on Tuesday, he told the PA news agency: “We went as a family, my wife Amanda and teenage daughter Bethany, but to be honest, since this announcement, I am not sure what will happen if I work a driver, and I don’t think my employer will accept that I have to isolate myself because I am going on vacation. ”
Spain has reported more than 900 new daily infections in the past two days, as authorities warn the country that 28,000 lives were lost before its outbreak could be brought under control, with the possible start of a second major outbreak.
On Thursday, the Spanish Ministry of Health reported 971 new daily infections, the largest daily increase since the closure in Spain.
Catalonia became the newest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to stop new clusters of infection.
The wealthy northeastern region – home to Barcelona – ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a curfew on bars in the greater area of Barcelona and other towns around Lleida that have become infectious hot zones at midnight.
Quarantine regulations for those returning to Scotland from Spain had only been lifted this week by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s government, which turned out to be a quick turnaround.
Scottish Justice Minister Humza Yousaf said, “The decision to exempt Spain earlier this week was made when data showed an improvement in the spread of the virus.
“But the latest data has clearly given us reason to reverse that decision.”
Robin Swann, Health Minister for Northern Ireland, said: “The decision to remove Spain from the exempt list has not been taken lightly.
“I spoke to my colleagues in the UK today and we agree that the recent emergence of new positive cases in different parts of Spain is worrying.
“From midnight tonight, anyone returning from Spain or visiting Northern Ireland, including the islands, must be quarantined for 14 days.”
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labor secretary, said the news would be “of great concern to families” currently in Spain or planning a trip, and called on ministers to release details explaining how the affected people would be supported.