Brits told NOT to travel to Spain unless it's essential as holidaymakers must quarantine for 2 weeks on return to UK

BRITISH tourists should NOT to travel to Spain unless it is "essential", the Foreign Office has warned.

The country was removed from the Government's 'safe list' – with holidaymakers forced to quarantine for two weeks on returning home from midnight tonight.

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The government department's official website says the decision was made after assessing the coronavirus risks in the country.

But the advice against travel only applies to mainland Spain, with holiday hotpots such as Majorca and Ibiza left off the 'no go' list.

The website says: "From 26 July, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks.

"Only the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) are exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.

"This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of Covid-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).

"The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time."

Brits are urged to contact their tour operator or airline for information regarding their return journey.

Anyone flying flying in to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, from Spain will be forced to quarantine to stop the spread of Covid-19.

The new rules apply to people returning from the mainland, as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands, the Government has confirmed.

A spokesperson said: "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."

It means travel chaos for thousands of holidaymakers who have already booked summer getaways.

Neil Hunter, 45, from Sittingbourne in Kent, had booked a 10-day break to Lanzarote last December and was due to leave on Tuesday.

He said: "We were going as a family, my wife Amanda, and teenage daughter Bethany but to be honest, since this announcement, I'm unsure what's going to happen.

"I work as a train driver and I don't think my employer will accept me having to isolate due to going on holiday.

"I am insured, but unsure whether they'd accept that as a reason for not going, especially if Hays Travel don't cancel for me.

"There's no way I could afford to cancel myself."

He said he understood why the decision had been taken, but that it "is a lot of money and disappointing all the same".

Chloe Harris, 23, from Kent, booked a last-minute trip to Lanzarote and arrived on the Spanish island this morning.

She said: "When I heard the news I was quite shocked because I thought they would have given us some warning.

"We only booked the trip on Wednesday and we are only here for a few days.

"We had done our research and we knew that the island has only had a small number of Covid cases.

"I think a lot of people are going to rush to the airport, but because we are only here for four days, and we only arrived this morning, it doesn't seem worth it."

Employers are being urged by the Department for Transport to be "understanding of those returning from Spain who now will need to self-isolate".

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

Catalonia became the latest region to crack down on nightlife, trying to halt new infection clusters.

The north-east region – home to Barcelona – ordered all nightclubs to close for 15 days and put a midnight curfew on bars.

The new rules come only a day after a further five countries were added to the quarantine-free list for people travelling to England.

Anyone arriving from Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and St Vincent and the Grenadines will not be required to isolate for two weeks on arrival, the Government confirmed on Friday.

It said people should continue to check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's travel advice and their insurance policies before embarking on any overseas travel.

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