There are fears that more European holidays could get confused this summer during “uncertainty” after holidaymakers in Spain were left furiously told to quarantine when they returned home.
The government has maintained its decision to remove Spain from the safe destinations list in the UK after seeing a spike in coronavirus cases.
Secretary of State Dominic Raab said the government “cannot apologize” for the decision taken Saturday – less than five hours prior to its entry into force – that arrivals from Spain and its islands should isolate themselves for 14 days.
Spain is a safe country for tourists and Spaniards.Arancha Gonzalez Laya
Mr Raab, speaking on Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday program, also declined to rule out any further so-called travel corridors being withdrawn.
“As we have found in Spain, we cannot give any guarantees,” he said, before adding that “there was an element of uncertainty this summer when people go abroad.”
The Telegraph reported that officials in both France and Germany have warned of potential new lockdowns as parts of Europe are bracing for a second wave of Covid-19 infections.
French health authorities said last weekend that the country’s R rate rose to 1.3 and daily new infections rose to 1130 on Friday – indicators similar to May, when France came out of its strict two-month shutdown .
The decision to reintroduce restrictions for Spain left holidaymakers frustrated, as some said they wouldn’t have traveled if they knew they had to isolate themselves for two weeks.
According to travel company The PC Agency, which left the UK for Spain between July 26 and August 31, the move would likely have caused almost chaos as a result of the move.
According to The Times, trips to France, Italy and Greece were canceled in “large numbers” as a result of the ministers’ statement on Spain, a development likely to put further pressure on an already pressured travel sector.
Tour operator Tui said that due to the change in the government’s travel advice, it canceled all vacations to mainland Spain through August 9.
Labor shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticized the way the government handled the matter, calling it “downright shambolic” and calling for financial support for those now forced to lock up after returning home.
Liz Samandi, 52, a business owner from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, is one of thousands of Britons currently on family holiday in Spain and will return from Mallorca on Thursday.
She told PA news agency: “I actually feel a little angry because they did this and didn’t pay attention to the people who are already there.
“It’s the general approach that I think is wrong, I think it should have been a more focused area.”
53-year-old Jill Witte, who arrived at Gatwick Airport with her two daughters and husband on Sunday, said, “We were shocked, it didn’t look like this was going to happen, or we wouldn’t have gone.”
Not only the audience was surprised by the sudden announcement.
The rapid turnaround in the decision forced Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is currently in Spain for his summer vacation, to commit to thousands of others to isolate for two weeks upon his return to Britain.
London Minister Paul Scully will also have to be quarantined after stating on social media that he was vacationing in Playa Dorada, Lanzarote.
After the unexpectedly rapid rise in Spain #coronavirus cases, I had a video call with UK airlines + our ambassador @HugElliottUK today to ensure close coordination to help British nationals return from Spain. We will all have to be quarantined for 14 days on arrival.
– Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP (@grantshapps) July 26, 2020
Spanish ministers revealed they were in talks with the UK about exempting the Canary and Balearic Islands, including Ibiza and Mallorca, from the requirement to isolate themselves for two weeks due to lower infection rates in those regions.
The guidance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advising all essential trips to mainland Spain does not include the islands, but ministers chose to apply general quarantine schemes across the Spanish territories.
Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya argued that Spain had ‘perfectly controlled’ coronavirus outbreaks after the European country registered more than 900 new daily Covid-19 cases during two days before the suspension of the travel corridor on Saturday.
Ms Gonzalez Laya told reporters, “Spain is a safe country for tourists and Spaniards.
“As in any other European country, we see outbreaks – the outbreaks in Spain are perfectly controlled.”