Transport Secretary will quarantine after flying to Spain on same day as new rules announced

25 July 2020, 22:49

Grant Shapps will have to quarantine for 14 days when he returns from Spain
Grant Shapps will have to quarantine for 14 days when he returns from Spain. Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps will have to quarantine for two weeks after flying to Spain on the same day his department announced new travel rules.

The Government announced that holidaymakers returning from Spain will have to quarantine for 14 days after Covid second wave fears convinced ministers to remove the European country from the UK's safe list.

The so-called "travel corridor" with Spain has been shut down after it reported more than 900 new daily infections for the past two days.

The decision means those coming back from the popular holiday destination will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to UK after all four administrations - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - opted to join forces over the move.

The fresh measures, which will come into effect from midnight on July 26, not only caught unsuspecting members of the public off guard, but ministers too.

It has been confirmed that Mr Shapps - whose department announced the rule change - flew to Spain on Saturday morning to start his summer holiday, meaning he will have to quarantine for a fortnight if the travel corridor remains suspended by the end of his trip.

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 reintroduction of quarantine measures will apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Palma and Ibiza, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed.

The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.

Employers are being urged by the DfT to be "understanding of those returning from Spain who now will need to self-isolate" following the sudden advice change.

But 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.

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