Dealers who have staff on holiday in Spain will have to allow them to quarantine for two weeks when they return to the UK, according to new rules.
The snap decision by the Department of Transport (DfT) was taken yesterday evening (Jul 25) after fears of a second wave of Covid-19 made ministers strike Spain off the UK’s safe destinations list.
The ‘travel corridor’ with Spain has been shut after the country reported it had more than 900 new daily coronavirus infections over the past two days.
Starting from midnight on July 25, any UK resident who is currently in Spain will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return to England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.
It will apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Palma and Ibiza, the DfT confirmed.
The foreign office is now advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
Employers are being urged by the DfT to be ‘understanding of those returning from Spain who now will need to self-isolate’ following the sudden advice change.
A UK government spokesman said: ‘The Joint Biosecurity Centre together with Public Health England have updated their coronavirus assessments of Spain based on the latest data.
‘As a result, Spain has been removed from the lists of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempted from the need to self-isolate.
‘Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK.
‘We’ve always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country where necessary.
‘Both our list of quarantine exemptions and the FCO travel advice are being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments.’
The decision was taken so quickly it even caught out transport secretary Grant Shapps whose department announced the rule change.
Shapps flew to Spain on Saturday morning to start his summer holiday, meaning he will have to quarantine for a fortnight if the travel corridor remains suspended by the end of his trip.
In Scotland, Spain had only last week been added to its safe list of countries before Saturday evening’s dramatic U-turn.
Scotland’s justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: ‘The decision to exempt Spain earlier this week, was taken when the data showed there was an improvement in the spread of the virus.
‘But clearly the latest data has given us cause for concern to overturn that decision.’
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