Brits coming back from Spain will need to self-isolate as country removed from 'safe list'

25 July 2020, 19:17 | Updated: 25 July 2020, 21:09

Spain is due to be removed from the Government's list of safe countries to travel to
Spain is due to be removed from the Government's list of safe countries to travel to. Picture: PA

Spain has been removed from the Government's list of safe countries to travel to after a rise in Covid-19 cases, the Department for Transport has confirmed.

The decision means those coming back from Spain will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to the UK from midnight tonight.

The quarantine applies to people returning to any of the four nations - England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

A UK Government spokesman said: "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.

"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."

The move is likely to cast doubt on thousands of people's holiday plans as they weigh up the risk of travelling to Spain and the need to stay home for two weeks upon arriving back in Britain.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises people should avoid all but essential travel to mainland Spain. However, they exclude the Canary and Balearic islands.

But the Department for Transport (Dft) has announced that the "air-bridge" to Spain has been axed meaning anyone coming from Spanish territory - including any islands - will still have to self-isolate.

Several of Spain's regions have experienced a rise in new cases of coronavirus.

One month after lifting its lockdown, the country reported 922 new cases of Covid-19.

Its deputy chief of health emergencies has speculated that it could be a second wave.

Holiday operator TUI announced it would cancel holidays to Spain in response to the announcement.

A spokesman said every customer already in the country will be “proactively contacted to discuss their options".

Tourists due to travel abroad have been warned they could be forced into quarantine on their return.

The announcement about the removal of a so-called "air bridge" with Spain comes only a day after a further five countries were added to the quarantine-free list for people travelling to England.

Anyone coming from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will not be required to isolate for two weeks on arrival, the Government confirmed on Friday.

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Popular holiday destinations including Portugal, Thailand and the United States remain notable absentees.

The Government said people should continue to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice and their insurance policies before embarking on any overseas travel.

Ministers had previously warned that travel corridors could be closed if coronavirus rates escalated in other nations.

Travellers, even those from exempt destinations, are still required to complete a passenger locator form when they arrive in the UK.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted Scotland's response to the announcement.

She said the Scottish Government will also reimpose a 14-day quarantine.

Ms Sturgeon wrote: "Having reviewed the latest data earlier today, @scotgov is also reimposing 14 day quarantine for travellers returning from Spain.

"This reinforces the point that these matters are subject to change at short notice & so my advice is to be cautious about non-essential foreign travel."