FUMING Brits jetted home from their Spain holidays today — and slammed the chaos created by the last-minute quarantine bombshell.
Thousands were ordered to self-isolate at home for 14 days or face a £1,000 fine after Covid-19 cases in the Med hotspot rose to more than 1,000 a day.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
Many made it back with minutes to spare before the quarantine plans kicked in at midnight on Saturday — after being announced only four hours earlier.
More are due to return as devastated airlines gear up for rescue flights. An estimated 600,000 Brits are thought to be affected.
The Government tonight faced calls to open “safe” air corridors with the Costa Blanca, Costa del Sol, Canaries and the Balearics.
Ministers also ordered bosses to “respond flexibly and in an understanding way” to staff caught in the chaos.
Among those hit was Thomas Bradley, 39, of Harrogate, North Yorks, who returned to Leeds Bradford Airport today after cutting short a business trip to Majorca.
He said: “I feel like I’ve had the rug pulled from under me.”
This will be the death of the travel industry
Dr Andras Szigeti, of Chelmsford, Essex, heard the quarantine news three minutes after landing in Malaga. He and his partner flew back to spend 14 days in isolation.
He said: “I can’t afford to lose half of my monthly salary.”
Other Brits still in Spain were reeling.
Kevin Davies, 51, from Worcester, in Majorca for a seven-day break, said: “Are the Government going to pay for people’s wages who cannot work from home and have to take two weeks off?”
Emma and John Mack, both 46, of Telford, Shrops, insisted the island was safe.
John, 46, said: “This will be the death of the travel industry.”
The news also hit those with flights booked.
Andrew Colquhoun, 37, of Newbury, Berks, was due to leave Luton for Valencia at 7am today with wife Lianne, 33, and sons Alexander, six, and Benjamin, four.
He said: “The boys went to sleep in their Valencia football kits. They were so excited. Their hearts were set on it.”
Some Brits made it home on Saturday with minutes to spare after pilots stepped on the gas.
A Jet2 flight from Fuerteventura due in at East Midlands Airport at 12.30am touched down at 11.58pm. A Ryanair flight, also from Fuerteventura, landed in Manchester 22 minutes early — also at 11:58pm.
Baroness Dido Harding, head of the NHS test and trace scheme, said travellers who got a test when they arrived back would still need to quarantine.
She said: “A test today is only as good as saying you haven’t got the virus today. You might test negative today and positive tomorrow or the next day, right to the end of the 14-day period.”
Spanish politicians, meanwhile, were urgently seeking agreements for “safe” air corridors with British diplomats.
Experts believe the hopes for the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol looked slim.
Those of the Canaries and Balearics were higher as the Covid case count for both island groups is low.
Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said the three main outbreaks — in Zaragoza, Lleida and Barcelona — were “under control”.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, meanwhile, urged firms not to punish staff forced to self-isolate on returning from Spain.
It will be up to bosses whether or not to pay workers for the time away from the office.
Mr Raab said: “We expect employers to respond flexibly and in an understanding way to those who, let’s face it, have enforced on them because of the risk that we’ve seen in Spain, those quarantine rules.”
Michelle Keegan and Maya Jama have also been dropped as guest presenters for BBC1’s Baftas coverage after holidaying in Ibiza.
Michelle, 33, and Maya, 25, were still there today.
LISA and Jimmy O’Neil flew out to Majorca for a two-week holiday with their 16-year-old daughter Kacey.
They booked up after quarantine rules ended on July 10.
But now Jimmy, of Preston, fumes: “I’m gutted. I feel like I’ve been conned.
“I said when there was a quarantine I wouldn’t go anywhere.
“I’ve been off work for nine weeks shielding, back four weeks and now I’ll need two more weeks off.
“We weren’t given a chance to get a flight home.”
Lisa worked through lockdown in social care and sees the bright side. “It’s a four-week holiday now,” she said.
WITH their wedding, stag and hen parties all cancelled due to lockdown, Nichola Carr and David Jubb booked four days in Majorca.
After celebrating Nichola’s 37th birthday, the quarantine news broke so they tried for an earlier flight.
David, 34, of Wallsend, North Tyneside, said: “The earliest one got in at ten past midnight, so would have been too late. I am going to have to speak to my employers.
“I think the Government have gone overboard. We felt really safe. Everyone was wearing masks.
“This seems like an overreaction. It seems extreme.”
on on or EMAIL [email protected]