The decision from the UK government to implement a 14-day quarantine on those arriving into the UK from Spain was “unjust”, the Spanish Prime Minister has said
Pedro Sánchez has said that tourists in most regions of Spain would be safer from COVID-19 than they would be in the UK and that he was hoping that Britain would rethink its decision.
Prime Minister Sánchez that talks were underway after the UK’s government also advised against any non-essential travel for Britons to any part of Spain.
Labour has said that the government’s handling of the country’s travel restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic had been “chaotic”.
This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Members of Parliaments that there was “no smoking gun” in the now-released Russia report, as opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer claimed that the Prime Minister “sat on” the “extremely serious” report.
But the British government has said that it currently has no plans to change its decision to reintroduce the quarantine measures with the Prime Minister’s official spokesperson warning that “no travel is risk-free during this pandemic”.
Junior government minister Simon Clarke said that the possibility of the rules changing “has to be factored in”when he was asked about the risk to holidays to other destinations. He went on to say:
“By all means go on holiday but understand that there is a chance you may be asked to self-isolate upon your return,”
On Monday, the Foreign Office also announced an extension to its travel advice for Spain, now telling the British public to avoid any non-essential journeys to the Canary Islands, as well as the Balearic Islands and to the Spanish mainland.
But some travel agents in the UK are saying that they are struggling to understand the logic behind the UK government’s advice because the Spanish islands have much lower COVID-19 infection rates.
This comes after the man in charge of the space programmes in the UK has publicly criticised Russia for the test launch of a satellite “with the characteristics of a weapon”.
In an interview with the Spanish Telecinco TV network, Pedro Sánchez said that Spain’s government was “talking with British authorities to try to get them to reconsider” their decision.
Labour MP Chris Bryant, who chairs the all-party parliamentary group for Spain, said: “Why the Canaries – which are further away from Barcelona than Barcelona is the UK – are on the list as well as mainland Spain, I simply don’t understand,”
“And there are many, many regions of Spain which have much lower infection rates than many areas in the UK. I think this has been terribly badly handled.”
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, local government minister Mr Clarke said: “We respectfully disagree with the Spanish government’s position on this.
“We have seen a very sharp increase in cases in Spain, a 75% increase in cases reported between the middle of last week and the end of last week. That’s why we took the action that we have.”