The UK will impose restrictions on holidaymakers returning from Spain on Saturday in a bid to curb the surge in coronavirus infection, the government has confirmed.
The decision means those coming back from Spain will have to self-isolate for two weeks upon their return.
The move, a blow to the government’s controversial travel corridor scheme, followed a dramatic increase in the deadly virus in Spainwhich has seen nearly 1,000 infections reported over two days.
Ministers are set to remove Spain from the government’s list of safe countries to travel to after the country saw a rise in Covid-19 cases, from midnight.
In a twist, Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, who has been instrumental in drawing up the air corridor plans, was understood to be already holidaying in Spain, or to be in the process of travelling there.
Tourists and travellers were told they could avoid the 14-day social isolation rules if they returned to the UK by 11pm on Saturday.
The exclusion of Spain from the protected travel corridors is likely to provoke criticism from Madrid. It would deal a heavy blow to Spain, which is trying to recoup its tourism season after the sector took a battering from coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions earlier in the year.
A Spanish foreign ministry spokeswoman said that Spain “respects decisions of the United Kingdom” and is in touch with UK authorities. In Spain, critics were quick to point out that areas popular with UK tourists, such as the Costa del Sol and Benidorm, were not reporting infection surges.