Government poised to announce quarantines on arrivals from Spain

Tourists have returned to places like Barcelona beach in recent weeks and many are hoping it can stay that way.
Tourists have returned to places like Barcelona beach in recent weeks and many are hoping it can stay that way. Credit: AP

The government is preparing to announce that arrivals from Spain must quarantine for 14 days after landing in the UK, ITV News understands.

The country is feared to be "already" tackling its second wave of coronavirus, one of the country's leading experts has warned, and restrictions have been reimposed in an attempt to stem a new spike in cases.

As such the government is expected to announce that anyone arriving to the UK from Spain after midnight tonight will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

A formal announcement is expected to be made by the Department for Transport on Saturday.

Several regions of Spain - including Catalonia and Madrid - have experienced surges in new cases of the deadly virus, sparking fears among Brit holidaymakers hoping to get away this summer.

One month after lifting its lockdown, on Friday the country reported 922 new cases of Covid-19, prompting its deputy chief of health emergencies to speculate that "it could already be a second wave".

María José Sierra said the Spanish government is keen to impose restrictions "early" so a return to a national lockdown can be avoided.

In Catalonia all nightclubs and late-night bars have been ordered to close for two weeks after a surge in cases was reported among young people.

That follows restrictions being imposed on the town of Totana in the Murcia region on Thursday.

With Spain one of the most popular holiday destinations for British travellers, many are worried that the spikes could result in the UK government being forced to impose quarantines on those returning from Spain - potentially ruining holiday plans.

Spain is currently one of dozens of countries Britons can currently travel to without having to isolate upon their return, but the government says quarantine exemptions are constantly under review.

France is already advising its citizens not to travel to Catalonia while Norway has announced that anyone returning from Spain must under go a 10-day quarantine.

French health authorities are worried about coronavirus cases surging in the country, with the 'R' number - rate at which coronavirus is transmitted - now thought to be up to 1.3, suggesting that the virus spread is growing.

Officials are warning that the country is going backward in its battle against the pandemic.

“We have thus erased much of the progress that we’d achieved in the first weeks of lockdown-easing,” health authorities said.

They appealed for a return to “collective discipline,” asking people to work from home and get tested if they have any suspicions of infection.

“Concerning the situation in Catalonia, which is displaying worsened indicators for infection, we strongly encourage French citizens to avoid going there until the health situation improves,” French Prime Minister Jean Castex told reporters.