UK travellers returning from Spain face 14-day quarantine

Jul 25, 2020

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Travellers returning to the UK from Spain including the Canary Islands as well as the popular Balearic Islands are now facing a mandatory 14-day quarantine with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advising “against all but essential travel to all of Spain.” The UK government announced the change late on 25th July following a spike of 900 new coronavirus cases in Spain reported on July 24. Initially the FCO only advised against travel to mainland Spain but this was amended on Monday 27th July to include the Balearic and Canary Islands.

Mijas, Spain. (Photo by amoklv/Getty)
Mijas, Spain. (Photo by amoklv/Getty)

Almost a month after loosening restrictions and ending a strict state of emergency, Spain experienced a sharp increase in coronavirus cases in cities including Barcelona, Zaragoza and Madrid, which led the Spanish government to warn about a second wave of cases.

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The UK government said that those already in Spain can complete their stay, but will have to self-isolate for two weeks when they return. The quarantine covers those arriving into England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – does not have to enter quarantine, as long as they have been in the CTA for at least 14 days.

Upon returning from Spain, travellers will be asked for an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. The UK government says it is calling or texting one in five passengers to ensure they are self-isolating. Those who fail to comply could face a fine of up to £1,000.

TUI Airlines Netherlands Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner landing in the mist in Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport. The aircraft registration is PH-TFM. TUI uses Amsterdam Airport as a hub and connects Amsterdam to popular tourist destinations. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

As a result, TUI has been forced to scramble, cancelling all flights to Spain on Sunday 26th July. The airline has pledged to work on offering refunds or rebookings in the wake of the UK’s sudden decision to end its quarantine air bridge to the country.

In March, the FCO issued a COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice that “advises British nationals against all but essential international travel”. Since July, the UK government has been relaxing such advice for a number of countries and only on Friday added a further 5 countries to the non-quarantine list.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled the country’s road map out of coronavirus lockdown in May, which included requiring incoming air passengers to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Spain was subsequently excluded as a low-risk country when a first list of exempted countries was published in early July.

As countries relaxed their strict coronavirus regulations, many Brits started taking advantage of the prospect of a summer holiday in the sun with Spain being the most popular destination.

Featured photo by visualspace/Getty Images


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