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‘It ruins plans for everyone,’ Emily Harrison, of Essex, as she prepared to return home from Madrid Barajas Airport and faced two weeks of isolation. “Everyone is panicking now.”
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab called the measure a “real-time response” to an increase in coronavirus cases in Spain.
“We cannot apologize… we have to be able to take quick and decisive action,” he told Sky News.
The government said it was removing Spain from the safe travel list on Saturday night and the move took effect hours later, leaving travelers with no time to dodge it or plan ahead.
He also advised against all but essential travel to mainland Spain, leaving the islands out of the advice but including them in the quarantine measure.
Opposition Labor Party health policy chief Jonathan Ashworth criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government for its “frankly shambolic” handling of the measure.
TUI, Europe’s largest vacation company, said it would cancel all vacations to mainland Spain until August 9, while maintaining flights to the Balearic and Canary Islands.
Spain has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, prompting most regions to impose rules for masks to be worn everywhere, and in several regions, including Barcelona, are calling people to stay at home.
Most of the new cases have been concentrated in the northeastern region of Catalonia and neighboring regions, so a lot of criticism has focused on the fact that the quarantine also applies to other areas, which have were spared from the pandemic.