UK advises against travel to mainland Spain over COVID-19

UK advises against travel to mainland Spain over COVID-19

FILE PHOTO:  Passengers arrive at the Gatwick Airport, in Gatwick
FILE PHOTO: Passengers arrive at the Gatwick Airport, as travel restrictions are eased following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Gatwick, Britain July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON: Britain told its citizens to avoid all but essential travel to mainland Spain due to the risk from COVID-19, and said anyone arriving from Spain's mainland or islands would need to self-isolate for 14 days on their return.

"FCO 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 infection rates are lower there than mainland Spain," Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said.

British people already in Spain should follow local health rules and return home as normal, then self-isolate on their return, the foreign ministry added.

READ: 'Everyone is panicking' over quarantine, says UK tourist in Spain

The reported announcement is heavy blow to Spain, which is trying to recoup its tourism season after the sector took a battering from coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions earlier in the year.

A Spanish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said that Spain was a safe country with localised, isolated and controlled outbreaks of COVID-19. 

She added that Spain "respects decisions of the United Kingdom" and was in touch with the authorities there.

Northern Ireland's Department of Health said that all travellers arriving from Spain will need to quarantine for 14 days.

Cases of coronavirus have been on the rise again in recent weeks in Spain, prompting concern in several European countries.

On Friday Norway said it will re-impose a 10-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Spain from Saturday, while France advised people not to travel to the Spanish region of Catalonia.

The UK government maintains a list of countries that it has said are safe for travellers to visit - meaning people do not have to go into quarantine on return home.

Such quarantines are likely to put people off taking a holiday in "non-safe" countries.

The rules apply to travellers arriving in England. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland set their own quarantine rules.

Britons make a big contribution to Spain's tourism sector.

Last year 83.7 million tourists travelled to Spain, of which 18.08 million were British, making them the largest group by nationality, according to Spanish National Statistics Office.

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Source: Reuters/nh

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