Spain quarantine decision ‘not taken lightly’ - Swann

Holidaymakers returning to NI from Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days. Credit: PA

The decision to cut Spain from the quarantine exception list was “not taken lightly”, according to Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann.

Anyone travelling from Spain or its islands to Northern Ireland or the rest of the UK will now be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

The new regulations come into effect from midnight.

The decision has been taken following medical and scientific advice, amid fears Spain is already facing a “second wave” of the coronavirus.

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

Health Minister Robin Swann

A spike in the number of cases has led to it being removed from the UK’s list of safe travel areas.

The Foreign Commonwealth Office is now advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.

Guidance issued on Saturday evening outlined: “FCO is advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain – this does not cover the Canary Islands or the Balearic Islands because travel advice is based on the risk to the individual traveller and Covid infection rates are lower there than mainland Spain.

“People will still need to self-isolate when returning from anywhere in Spain as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands because self-isolation arrangements are put in place on the basis of risk to the UK as a whole.”

In a statement, Mr Swann said: “I have always said I will move swiftly and take the necessary action to ensure our citizens are protected.

“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. ”

He added: “I will continue to monitor the situation in Spain and other countries and make the changes to the regulations when necessary.”

The UK government is urging employers to be understanding of those caught out by the change in regulations.

Help & Support