26 Jul Coronavirus quarantine for travellers from Spain: UK holidaymakers angry and confused | UK News
The news that people coming into the UK from Spain will have to isolate for 14 days has left thousands of holidaymakers angry and disappointed.
Saturday’s announcement gave travellers just a few hours’ notice before the rule came into force, affecting those coming into the UK from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands.
Chris Riordan, from Essex, arrived in Spain on Thursday and said he was “absolutely devastated” when he heard news of the quarantine from friends back in the UK.
He said he had not been worried about the possibility of coronavirus-related changes to his travel plans when he booked his trip, adding: “We wouldn’t have travelled if we knew there was going to be any possibility of (this) happening”.
Mr Riordan said Spain had strict social distancing and mask-wearing during his holiday, adding: “You cannot walk along a street without a mask, you sanitise your hands before you enter every shop, supermarket or restaurant.”
With that in mind, he said, the government’s quarantine announcement appeared to be a “massive over-reaction”.
He told Sky News: “From the research we have done tonight we cannot see any spike in the region we are in, which is Moraira, yet we are going to be forced to 14 days’ quarantine. (The outbreak is) all in Catalonia, which is like locking down Leicester.
“We are now contemplating whether we should cut the holiday short and return home, subject to what the travel insurance say in morning. Or do we just enjoy the six days we have left, or risk not getting home?”
Quarantine will mean that Mr Riordan’s daughter will celebrate her birthday in early August without friends or other family members and he added: “Not being able to leave the house during the summer holidays with two children who have been stuck indoors for four months really is not ideal and is damaging for all our mental health.”
Graham Woodhouse, who is due to return from Vera Playa today, said the government should have considered different rules depending on which parts of Spain people were coming from.
He told Sky News: “There needs to be some common sense applied as not all areas in Spain are the same.”
Another Briton, who gave his first name as Alan, is due to return to the UK tomorrow from Majorca and said: “I’m a retired police inspector and now own an electrical business which requires me to work all next week or my company collapses.”
Chloe Harris, 23, from Kent, booked a last-minute trip to Lanzarote and arrived on the Spanish island on Saturday morning.
She said: “When I heard the news I was quite shocked because I thought they would have given us some warning. Even just some warning that this was something they were going to consider.”
Neil Hunter, 45, from Sittingbourne in Kent, 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 as I work as a train driver, and I don’t think my employer will accept me having to isolate due to going on holiday.”
Rory Boland, editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “Many holidaymakers will be deeply angry that the government didn’t make this decision 48 hours ago, before tens of thousands of them flew off for their summer holidays in Spain.
“Many would not have travelled if they had known they’d face 14 days of quarantine on their return.”
The government’s move came after Spain logged 922 infections on Friday, slightly down from 971 the day before, with officials tracking more than 280 active outbreaks across the country.
The Spanish government has warned it could already be seeing a “second wave” of the coronavirus, as France, Germany and Belgium all reported steep rises in cases.