Travel plans of thousands of British residents in Spain have been complicated after the UK government decided on Saturday to bring back two-week quarantine requirements for all travellers arriving from this country.
The decision to remove Spain from the travel corridor list that allows movement between the UK and certain other countries with no self-isolation requirements, comes, said the UK government on Saturday, "following a significant change over the last week in both the level and pace of change in confirmed cases" in Spain.
"The Joint Biosecurity Centre together with Public Health England have updated their coronavirus assessments of Spain based on the latest data. As a result, 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," said a government spokesperson on Saturday.
"Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK.
"We’ve always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country where necessary. Both our list of quarantine exemptions and the FCO travel advice are being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments," said the statement.
British holidaymakers currently in Spain have been told they can stay for the remainder of their holiday but must self-isolate for two weeks on their return.
Paul Charles, a travel industry consultant, estimates that a million and a half British nationals were due to travel to Spanish holdiay destinations this week.
Travel agencies and airlines will now be facing thousands of enquiries from customers, unsure whether to cancel or postpone their trips.
The British government is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain. "This does not cover the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands because travel advice is based on the risk to the individual traveller and Covid-19 infection rates are lower there than mainland Spain," it said.
The two-week self-isolation rule, however, applies to passengers arriving from all parts of Spain, including the islands.