Foreign secretary defends ‘swift decision’
Travellers coming back from Spain will now have to quarantine for 14 days after the Department for Transport removed it from its travel corridors list.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office also changed its position to advise against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain.
The Canary Islands and Balearic Islands are exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel, but returning holidaymakers from the islands will still be forced to quarantine.
The move follows an increase in the number of coronavirus cases being reported in the country.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, said that Scotland was following suit.
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 https://t.co/9xSnyFCv77— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 25, 2020
The foreign secretary has defended the “swift decision” amid criticism from the travel industry.
Dominic Raab told Sky News that the government “took the decision as swiftly as we could” and added that “vague advice” would “create more uncertainty”.
“There is a cut-off with changes in rules and advice we give, so I appreciate that that’s difficult and it can be disruptive,” he said.
“But it would be far worse to either muddy the waters or to hold back and delay from taking the measures when we need to take them.”
The Guardian has reported that Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, is currently on holiday in Spain.
British Airways said the move was “throwing thousands of Britons’ travel plans into chaos”.
Kelly Cookes, leisure director at Advantage Travel Partnership said it was “devastating news” for the travel industry.
“Spain had been dominating in terms of bookings and just as there was a glimmer of hope to try and recover some of the summer season, the change in Government advice will have huge ramifications on consumer confidence when it comes to booking travel elsewhere,” she said. “The health and safety of travellers is paramount, however this will put many travel agents back at square one in terms of the refund process and I’m sure will impact revenue for travel businesses who were starting to get back on their feet.”
On Friday, the government added five countries to the safe list: Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Estonia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.