Grant Shapps forced to quarantine: Transport Secretary must isolate on return from Spain

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The Transport Secretary is understood to have flown to Spain on Saturday morning when the travel corridor with the country remained open. But the Government has now changed its advice, announcing those who return from the country will have to self-isolate for 14 days. This new measure will come into affect at midnight tonight.

The PA news agency has reported Mr Shapps plans to complete his holiday before returning to work.

He will then follow quarantine rules should they still be in place at the end of his trip.

On Saturday evening, the Government announced holidaymakers returning from Spain will have to quarantine for two-weeks after fears over a spike in coronavirus cases convinced ministers to remove the European country from the UK’s safe list.

The travel corridor with Spain has been shut after the country reported more than 900 new daily coronavirus cases for the past two days.

The Department for Transport confirmed The new quarantine measures will apply to anyone returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

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 Foreign Office is also now advising against all but essential to mainland Spain.

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.

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“But clearly the latest data has given us cause for concern to overturn that decision.”

Northern Ireland health minister Robin Swann said: “The decision to remove Spain from the exempt list was not taken lightly.

“I have spoken with my counterparts across the UK today and we agree that the recent upsurge in new positive cases in different parts of Spain are a cause for concern.

“As of midnight tonight, anyone returning or visiting Northern Ireland from Spain, including its islands will be required to quarantine for 14 days.”

Spain has reported more than 900 new daily infections for the past two days, triggering fears the country could be faced with a second major coronavirus outbreak.

On Thursday, 971 new daily infections were reported – the biggest daily increase since Spain’s lockdown ended.

Catalonia has ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and placed a midnight curfew on bars in the greater Barcelona area and several other towns surrounding the city.

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