Grant Shapps said he did not act in the face of a growing number of COVID-19[feminine[feminine case in the country would have been a “dereliction of duty”.
“We had to act when we did it,” he said, after interrupting his own trip to Spain.
“The numbers since then have shown why this was necessary and I am desperately sad and sorry for the people who have lost their vacations.
“I decided I had to get home early and start my 14 day quarantine just to make sure I could continue my job.”
Mr Shapps also revealed that ministers had considered excluding the Balearic and Canary Islands from the coronavirus quarantine.
But he added: “Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, was very clear with us that he was concerned about the data, we had seen how the data had progressed very quickly in Spain in 20, 48 hours, it had increased by 75%.
“He had doubled in a few days. He was concerned to see what was going on in the islands, and that is why we are making it a nationwide approach in these areas. ”
The transport secretary flew to Spain on Saturday morning to begin his summer vacation, just hours before the government announced the abolition of its travel corridor for the whole country.
This means Britons returning to the UK from Spain must now self-isolate for 14 days upon their return.
Mr Shapps said he “cannot rule out” that other countries join Spain on the quarantine list.
This decision angered tourists, airlines and travel agencies.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice for Spain on Monday.
It now advises against all non-essential travel throughout Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Jose Ramon Bauza, a former president of the Balearic Islands, said he “did not understand” the decision.
“Of course we’ve had a few coronavirus vacuums in Spain, but most areas are in absolutely low numbers – including better than Britain,” he told Sky News.
“I can assure you that being here in the Balearics is absolutely safe – it is as safe as any other place in Europe. ”
A minister told Sky News earlier that the government is set to put more countries on its quarantine list “Right now” if the coronavirus is “out of control” in them.
Belgium, Luxembourg and Croatia are under scrutiny by ministers given coronavirus rates in that country, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden has not said which countries could be next on the quarantine list, but confirmed those where the virus is “rising rapidly” and where there is a risk that the British “will return in numbers ”are the most worrying.
Heathrow Airport has proposed a testing regime in a bid to cut 14-day quarantines and get people traveling as the travel industry suffers the strain of the pandemic.
But the transportation secretary dismissed the idea, saying, “One of the things people don’t realize with testing is that if you test someone who is asymptomatic, they don’t show any signs of coronavirus. on the first day when he arrives at an airport.
“That would only bring back 7% of people who actually had the disease, which isn’t helpful from a point of view of making sure you get the cases.
“You then have to test again later and it causes additional complications to make sure people have quarantined in the meantime and that doesn’t work either. “
Travel agencies have been hit hard by the UK’s quarantine decision, with Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary calling it a ‘mismanaged overreaction’ and TUI extending holiday cancellations until August 4 .
And the holiday operator Jet2 declares to have “taken the decision to suspend flights and holidays to Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza until August 9 inclusive”.
The company said it had already suspended flights and holidays to the Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia until August 16 inclusive, and said its staff would contact customers already in those locations “to let them know. of their return flight options to the UK ”and urged customers not to contact them.
People who need to travel to these destinations with Jet2 after the above dates will be updated “once we receive more information from the government,” the operator added.