UK adds Spain to quarantine list: Everything holidaymakers need to know

27 July 2020, 05:53

Travellers returning from Spain will be forced to self-isolate for two weeks
Travellers returning from Spain will be forced to self-isolate for two weeks. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Spain has been removed from the list of safe countries to travel to after concerns the European country was experiencing a second spike in Covid-19 cases.

The news means the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have advised Brits against all but essential travel to the popular holiday destination

Returning travellers from the country will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to the UK.

But when will holidaymakers have to self-isolate from? And what does it mean if you have a holiday booked?

Here is what it means for holidaymakers:

When will holidaymakers have to self-isolate?

The measure came into effect from midnight on Saturday, meaning that from Sunday all returning travellers will have to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

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

Why is it being brought in now?

The Government said the move follows a "significant change" over the last week in both the level and pace of change in confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Spain.

The country has reported more than 900 new daily infections for the past two days.

Catalonia became the latest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to halt new infection clusters.

The wealthy north-east region - home to Barcelona - ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a midnight curfew on bars in the greater Barcelona area and other towns around Lleida that have become contagion hot zones.

What should people do if they are already in Spain?

People currently on holiday in Spain have been encouraged to follow the local rules, return home as normal and check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) travel advice pages on gov.uk for further information.

The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave.

Abta - the UK's travel trade association - has advised customers in the country to continue their holidays and return as normal.

What should holidaymakers do if they have a trip to Spain booked?

The FCO is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.

Holiday operator Tui has said it will cancel all planned holidays to Spain in response to the announcement and customers will be contacted to discuss options.

Abta has advised customers due to travel to the country imminently to contact their travel provider.

Meanwhile, airline easyJet said it planned to operate its full schedule in the coming days.

Does the quarantine apply if the holidaymaker has been to a Spanish island?

Quarantine measures will apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and the Balearic Islands, such as Majorca and Ibiza, the Department for Transport confirmed.

What will happen with travel insurance?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has said it is "likely" that travel insurance will remain in place for holidaymakers already in Spain until they return home.

However, those attempting to travel to countries against FCO advice would invalidate their travel insurance.

The ABI said people who booked a trip or took out travel insurance after Covid-19 was declared a pandemic may not be covered for travel disruption or cancellation. In either circumstance, travellers should check with their insurer.

What about employers whose employees have to go into quarantine?

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said no worker following quarantine guidance should be penalised by employers, including by being put onto sick pay.

He said that if someone is following the law in relation to quarantine and self-isolating, "they can't have penalties taken against them".

Labour wants the Government to do more to help quarantining employees.

The conciliation service Acas has advised employees returning from Spain to talk to their employer as soon as possible.

It said unless employees are actually ill, they are unlikely to qualify for statutory sick pay - although an employer could still offer to pay this if it wanted to.

If they have previously been furloughed, they could agree to a further period of furlough to cover the isolation period. Or they could agree a further period of annual leave, a period of unpaid leave or a mix of the two.

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