What's the latest UK government travel advice for Spain?
On Saturday the UK made two key changes that impact travellers to Spain. Firstly it advised against all non-essential travel to “mainland” Spain, before extending it to all regions in the country.
The UK government's website now says: “From 27 July, the FCO advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.”
The UK also removed Spain from a so-called “safe list” of countries that were exempt from quarantine, meaning returning travellers faced 14-days of obligatory self-isolation in the UK.
“If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK,” the government says.
What about the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands?
Originally the government did not advise against travel to the islands but said travellers from those regions were covered by the quarantine requirement, much to the anger of Spanish authorities.
Later on Monday however the UK tightened its advice by also advising against non-essential travel to the Canary and Balearic islands.
That was a blow to authorities on the islands who were trying to negotiate an exemption for the islands but it's not clear whether they will succeed.
What if you are in Spain at the moment?
The snap decision to impose quarantine and change the travel advice has understandably shocked and upset many – not least Spanish authorities and those who work in the tourism industry in Spain.
But the UK government insists that travellers in Spain should not end their holidays and rush back.
“The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time. Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.”
What is the advice and rules put in place by local authorities?
The main health rules in place around Spain cover the wearing of face masks, which apart from in Madrid and the Canary Islands are compulsory in all outdoor and indoor public places and on public transport. That includes when outside, walking in the street, although it doesn't include when sitting on the beach or eating in restaurants.
In Madrid and the Canary Islands face masks are mandatory in indoor spaces but not outdoors if the safety distance of 1.5 metres can be kept.
Those who flout the rule face fines of over €100. The rules are in place for anyone over six who doesn't have respiratory or other health conditions that could be aggravated by wearing a mask.
People are also advised to keep their distance from others and wash their hands regularly. You may also be asked to provide contact details in bars and shops for the purposes of track and trace.
Bars and restaurants have rules to maintain social distancing. Nightclubs have also been closed in many regions including Catalonia.
If you develop a temperature, a cough, a sore throat or any of the other symptoms associated with Covid-19, you should stay at your accommodation and call the emergency number of the region in which you are staying. You may also be asked to move to separate accommodation.
What if you are travelling to Spain?
If you are prepared to accept two weeks in quarantine on your return – and many are by the sound of things – then there are just a few things to note.
Anyone arriving in Spain is subject to temperature and visual checks but not compulsory PCR testing for Covid-19.
The UK government also states that those arriving “have to provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with mandatory contact information and any history of exposure to COVID-19 48 hours prior to travel.”
Plus on your return you will have to fill out contact information and provide journey details to British authorities – as well as self-isolate.
What does the UK say about the situation in Spain?
According to the UK government “Public Health England are monitoring recent reports of substantial increases in cases of COVID-19 in the regions of Aragon, Navarre and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).
“There are currently more than 290 outbreaks of COVID-19 across Spain, although the number of infections per outbreak varies greatly.
“One of those outbreaks has affected parts of Catalonia (namely parts of Barcelona metropolitan area, and the areas of La Noguera and El Segria), where local authorities have asked residents only to leave their accommodation for essential activities. Meetings of more than 10 people in public or private are prohibited, and the authorities have ordered the closures of nightclubs, gyms, and restrictions to the capacity and opening hours of bars and restaurants. These measures will be in place until 1 August.”
The government also urges tourists to consult the latest info from the Spanish government and in particular this map, which shows the number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants each week.
For more on the UK's latest info on coronavirus in Spain CLICK HERE.