TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps is one of thousands of Brits who will be forced to quarantine after returning home from Spain.
He faces two weeks in isolation when he flies back to the UK after the country was removed from the Government’s ‘safe list’.
The Cabinet minister is understood to have flown out on Saturday morning when the travel corridor remained open.
But the Government has since taken the decision – in a move announced by his own department – to alter its advice.
British travellers who return from Spain from midnight last night now face two weeks at home.
A Government spokesperson said: “Spain has been removed from the lists of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempted from the need to self-isolate.
“Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK.”
And tourists have been told not to travel to the European country unless it is “essential”.
The Foreign Office warned holidaymakers against trips to mainland Spain – but the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands are exempt from the restrictions.
The Government department website says: “From 26 July, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.”
It is understood Mr Shapps plans to complete his holiday before returning to work – and will follow quarantine rules, should they still be in place at the end of his trip.
The new rules means travel chaos for thousands of other holidaymakers who have already booked summer getaways.
Neil Hunter, 45, from Sittingbourne in Kent, had booked a 10-day break to Lanzarote last December and was due to leave on Tuesday.
The train driver said: “I’m unsure what’s going to happen. I don’t think my employer will accept me having to isolate due to going on holiday.”
And Chloe Harris, 23, from Kent, booked a last-minute trip to Lanzarote and arrived on the Spanish island this morning.
She said: “When I heard the news I was quite shocked because I thought they would have given us some warning.”
She added that she would “probably be fine to continue working from home to quarantine” but her friend may not be so lucky.
Chloe said: “My friend who I travelled with is due to start a new job on August 3 and so that’s going to be difficult to explain to her employer.”
But Mr Shapps’ department is urging employers to be “understanding of those returning from Spain who now will need to self-isolate”.
The new rules were introduced after Spain was hit with a fresh wave of coronavirus cases.
On Thursday, the country reported 971 new infections – the biggest daily increase since the country’s lockdown ended.
Catalonia became the latest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to halt new infection clusters.
The north-east region – home to Barcelona – ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a midnight curfew on bars.