Spain back on quarantine list after spike in coronavirus cases

The Scottish Government has reimposed restrictions on Spain after the country saw a rise in Covid-19 infections.

Travellers returning to Scotland from Spain will have to quarantine for 14 days.

The Scottish Government has reimposed restrictions after the country saw a significant rise in Covid-19 cases.

The decision, also made by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales – as well as the UK Government, has been made to reduce the risk of the transmission of the virus by those travelling from Spain and arriving in Scotland.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted on Saturday: “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.”

The measures come into effect from midnight tonight, and all returning travellers will be made to isolate for 14 days.

It overturns an earlier decision by the Scottish Government to relax quarantine measures for holidaymakers returning from Spain – implemented last Thursday.

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.

“We appreciate that this will be disappointing. However, we have always been clear we are closely monitoring the pandemic situation in all countries and that we may require to remove a country from the list of places exempt from quarantine requirements should the virus show a resurgence.

“It is still active and it is still deadly. Suppressing the virus, preventing it from being transmitted and protecting public health is our priority.”

Spain was not included in the Scottish Government’s initial list of so-called “air bridge” countries earlier this month – meaning nations where quarantine-free travel is allowed.

However, Spain – including both the mainland and popular island destinations like Majorca, Menorca and the Canary Islands – was then added to the list of “air bridge” countries on Thursday.

Spain has reported more than 900 new daily infections for the last two days as authorities warn the country – which lost 28,000 lives before getting its outbreak under control – could be facing the start of a second major outbreak.

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said last week’s decision to lift the Spanish quarantine looked like a “major misjudgment”.

He said: “The Spanish Government was warning about a rise in cases in the country yet the Scottish Government ignored the signs. I found the Scottish decision last week baffling given the clear warnings from the Spanish health ministry.

“I am not surprised that the decision has now been reversed. I have supported the Scottish Government’s approach through much of the pandemic but my confidence in them has been shaken badly.”

Joanne Dooey, President of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association, described the move to reimpose quarantine restrictions on Spain as “understandable, but devastating”.

She said: “This means that passengers whose Spanish flights are due to land in Scotland after midnight will have to self isolate on their arrival, and they may not learn this until they land.

“Safety has always been foremost in our thoughts, but this is yet more bad news for the beleaguered travel industry.

“Travel agents have faced a torrid time since lockdown and whilst bookings are steady for 2021, the sector has been massively affected. Agents have worked tirelessly to rebook holidays for their clients. Tonight’s news means that they will be rebooking their clients now for a second or third time.”

The UK Government said people should continue to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s travel advice and their insurance policies before embarking on any overseas travel.

Travellers, even those from exempt destinations, are still required to complete a passenger locator form when they arrive in the UK.

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.”

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