Tom Swarbrick 10pm - 1am
Spain holidays: How will the new announcement affect my travel plans?
25 July 2020, 20:59
Spain has been removed from the Government list of safe countries - but how does this affect your holiday and what are the new rules?
Spain has been removed from the Government's list of safe countries to travel to after a rise in Covid-19 cases.
Tourists returning from Spain from midnight on July 26 will have to self-isolate for two weeks
The announcement comes as a shock and is likely to cause mass disruption to holiday plans as well as the tourism industry.
Why has Spain been removed from the list of safe countries?
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.
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."
Do you still need to self-isolate if you are returning from the Balearic or Canary Islands?
The rise in cases has been primarily on mainland Spain.
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 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.
What does it mean if you have a holiday booked?
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".
There is also a chance that flights could be cancelled if air companies are unable to fill seats as a result of cancelled holidays. This means that even if you decide to go on holiday, you may struggle to find a flight to get you to your destination.
Which countries are exempt from quarantine?
The announcement about the removal of an 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.
Popular holiday destinations including Portugal, Thailand and the United States remain notable absentees.
What should you do if you have a holiday booked?
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.