The UK has removed Spain from its list of safe countries to travel to after fears its seeing a second wave of coronavirus infections.
It means Brits returning from the country will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to the UK.
The decision has caught many by surprise, including Brits already in Spain, those due to head out soon and the tourist trade that is already struggling amid the ongoing pandemic.
Holidaymakers currently in Spain have been blindsided by the move and spoken of their ‘frustration’ and ‘confusion’ as they learned of the sudden decision late on Saturday.
One factory worker learnt the news as he was packing his suitcase for a trip to Alicante tomorrow, as Brits’ summer holiday plans resurrected after vacations were halted by months in lockdown are in tatters once again.
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With little notice, the new rules may still affect you and your family. Here we look at exactly what it all means.
The measures came into effect from midnight, meaning that from Sunday all returning travellers will have to isolate for 14 days.
The quarantine applies to people returning to any of the four nations of the UK – England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Government said the move follows a “significant change” over the last week in both the level and pace of change in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Spain.
On Thursday, the Spanish health ministry reported 971 new daily infections, the biggest daily increase since Spain’s lockdown ended.
Catalonia became the latest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to halt new infection clusters.
The wealthy north-east region – home to Barcelona – ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a midnight curfew on bars in the greater Barcelona area and other towns around Lleida that have become contagion hot zones.
People currently on holiday in Spain have been encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) travel advice pages on gov.uk for further information.
The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time.
The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
Abta – the UK’s travel trade association – has advised customers due to travel to the country imminently to contact their travel provider.
Holiday operator Tui has said it will cancel all planned holidays to Spain in response to the announcement and customers will be contacted to discuss options.
Airline easyJet said it planned to operate its full schedule in the coming days.
A spokeswoman said: “Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of the booking.
“Should any flights be cancelled for later in August customers will be notified and informed of their options which includes transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or applying for a refund.”
Quarantine measures will apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and the Balearic Islands, such as Mallorca and Ibiza, the Department for Transport confirmed.