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CORONAVIRUS

Holidaymakers stunned after UK removes Spain from travel safe list

Tourists at the airport of Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Tourists at the airport of Palma de Mallorca, Spain. AFP/File
2 min

The UK’s sudden decision to remove Spain from its quarantine-free holiday list and advise against all non-essential travel to the country is reportedly causing havoc for British holidaymakers.

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The British foreign ministry removed Spain from the government’s safe travel corridor list on Saturday following a surge in Covid-19 cases. The corridors allow quarantine-free travel between the UK and more than 70 countries.

Holidaymakers who have already left the UK must now self-isolate for two weeks upon returning home from Spain, while those who have not yet left face cancellation fees and confusion over their right to travel.

The quarantine requirement – which also affects British Transport Minister Grant Shapps, who is himself on holiday in Spain – came into force from midnight Saturday, prompting travel companies to cancel departures and tour operators to cancel package holidays.

“We’re incredibly disappointed that we didn’t get more notice of this announcement, or that this decision wasn’t made yesterday, as many Brits travel on holiday at the weekend,” Andrew Flintham, UK managing director of Europe’s biggest travel company, TUI, told Reuters.

The company said it was cancelling all departures on Sunday to Spain from the United Kingdom, and was urgently reviewing future flights.

British foreign minister Dominic Raab on Sunday defended Spain's removal from the government's list of safe countries as a “real-time response” to a jump in coronavirus cases on Friday.

The decision follows moves by Norway to reimpose quarantine on people coming from Spain. France has advised people not to travel to Spain’s north-eastern region of Catalonia.

– With Reuters

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