British holidaymakers have been informed that they can travel to the Spanish islands, but must return to quarantine after their return.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised British travelers against all non-essential travel, including travel to mainland Spain.
However, this does not apply to the Canary Islands – Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa – and the Balearic Islands – Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera.
People returning from anywhere in Spain – including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands – are now required to go into 14-day quarantine on their return.
The Spanish government and the British travel agency, the Association of British Travel Agents, argue that the Canary Islands and Balearic Islands do not need to be quarantined and point out that infection rates on these islands are low.
Vacationers including British tourists on Santa Eulalia beach in Ibiza yesterday
But a British tourist tested positive for Covid-19 in Lanzarotte last week, and the British government fears that an exception in the islands could leave a gap in the system.
In theory, someone could fly home via Mallorca on vacation in Spain and avoid quarantine.
The weekly Covid 19 numbers for the Balearic and Canary Islands show that the cases have remained relatively low
Weekly Covid 19 case numbers for the past four weeks show that relatively low numbers were recorded in both the Balearic and Canary Islands, although in the latter it is more of an upward trend:
New cases in the past seven days (week through Friday, July 24):
- Balearic Islands: 40
- Canary Islands: 95
- Spain total: 10,990
Week to Friday, July 17th:
- Balearic Islands: 39
- Canary Islands: 30
- Spain total: 5,695
Week to Friday, July 10th:
- Balearic Islands: 17
- Canary Islands: 13
- Spain total: 2,944
Week to Friday, July 3rd:
- Balearic Islands: 37
- Canary Islands: 11
- Spain total: 2,028
Cases of all time (as of Friday, July 24)
- Balearic Islands: 2,343
- Canary Islands: 2,578
- Spain total: 272,421
Ibiza tourist guides say hotels will be forced to close due to the UK government's quarantine decision.
The UK market is number one for the island, which had been hit by a lack of bookings and the closure of all major clubs during the Coronavirus crisis due to health regulations imposed by the Balearic government.
Ibiza's tourism director, Juan Miguel Costa, said the need for the British to be quarantined on their return if they choose to go to Spain would make it "impossible" for them to choose the island.
He told the island newspaper Diario de Ibiza: "With the dependency we have on the British in different parts of the island, this is a blow to our entire waterline, a blow to the sector at full strength."
& # 39; The island is already registering cancellations by British tourists, which will result in many hotels dedicated to British tourism being closed. You cannot survive. & # 39;
Ibiza now hopes that the governments of Spain and the UK will reach agreement on the creation of a "safe corridor" between the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands in order to free British tourists from the quarantine requirement.
Mr Costa said that he felt that the second wave of Covid-19 infections mainly "punished" the Spanish mainland due to the second wave of Covid-19 infections.
"In the end, state politics are done and everything is put in the same pocket, but the incidence in the Balearic Islands is low," he said.
A spokesman for Abta said: "Abta has consistently said that protecting public health must be a priority at this time, and it is important to base travel decisions on the best health and scientific advice.
& # 39; We propose that the government consider lifting the quarantine rules for flights to and from certain regions with lower infection rates or to locations such as the Balearic Islands or the Canaries, which are geographically different from mainland Spain, to further damage the Avoid UK domestic and outbound tourism industries. & # 39;
The UK government has introduced travel and quarantine controls for Spain following an increase in cases around Barcelona, Zaragoza and Madrid.
The Ibiza tourism director said that the need to have the British quarantined on their return if they choose to go on holiday in Spain would make it "impossible" for them to choose the island (see figure yesterday).
Around 1,904 new cases were reported last Friday, the highest since the end of April.
In the meantime, there are concerns that this summer, during the “insecurity”, more European holidays could get messed up after vacationers in Spain were angry that they would have to be quarantined when they returned.
The government stuck to its decision to remove Spain from the UK's safe destination list after the number of coronavirus cases increased.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said the government could not apologize for Saturday's decision, announced less than five hours before it came into force, that arrivals from Spain and its islands would have to isolate themselves for 14 days.
Ibiza (picture yesterday) now hopes that the governments of Spain and Great Britain will reach an agreement on the creation of a "safe corridor" between the Balearic Islands
Mr. Raab, who spoke to Sky News' Sophy Ridge On Sky yesterday, also refused to rule out the removal of other so-called travel corridors.
The Telegraph reported that officials in France and Germany warned of possible new bans when parts of Europe were prepared for a second wave of Covid 19 infections.
French health officials said over the weekend that the country's R rate was 1.3 and Friday's daily new infections had risen to 1,130 – indicators similar to those in May when France pulled out of its strict two-month lock-up period.
The decision to reintroduce the restrictions on Spain left the holidaymakers frustrated. Some said they would not have traveled if they knew they would have to isolate themselves for a fortnight afterwards.
Ibiza tourist guides (picture yesterday) say hotels have to be closed due to the quarantine decision
According to the travel agency The PC Agency, which analyzed the number of seats on flights from the UK to Spain between July 26 and August 31, the move may have brought chaos to almost 1.8 million vacation days.
According to The Times, trips to France, Italy and Greece were "canceled" in large numbers after ministers decided on Spain. This development should further increase the pressure on a travel sector that is already under pressure.
Tour operator Tui said that due to the change in government travel advice, all holidays in mainland Spain will be canceled until August 9th.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth criticized the government's treatment of the matter, calling it "openly Shambol" and demanding financial support for those now forced to seal themselves off upon arrival.
Summer 2020 will be exciting
COMMENT FROM MARK PALMER, TRAVEL EDITOR FOR DAILY MAIL
That was & # 39; s for a vacation abroad this summer.
The sad truth is that the government's decision to discourage all non-essential trips to mainland Spain and to re-impose a two-week quarantine will have a dramatic impact as millions of families rethink their travel plans. And all of this, just when it looked like overseas travel was finally getting back on its feet.
Foreign Minister Dominic Raab made it clear yesterday that other countries could be the next.
He refused to apologize, saying that he and his cabinetmates should "be able to act quickly and decisively." But in April, when people from all over the world flocked to Great Britain and brought the virus with them without going into quarantine, there was unfortunately no such quick action.
Since then, there have been hardly any measures to test arrival at airports.
Instead, we now have a blanket rule for Spain – the most popular destination for British tourists – that could affect up to two million people in the coming months. The decision was made late Saturday after ministers discussed infection rates in Spain. However, the data was available on Friday, meaning that the announcement could be made more than 24 hours earlier before thousands left for the airport, giving those in Spain time to change their plans.
True "determined measures" would certainly have made a clear distinction between mainland Spain, where infections have increased, and the Canary Islands, Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza, where there have been fewer cases.
Yes, the Federal Foreign Office has said that we can visit the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands. On our return, however, we still have to quarantine for 14 days. It is becoming increasingly difficult to follow government travel considerations, whether it is the “airlifting” debacle that must be avoided, Portugal's continued red list, and now a blanket ban on mainland Spain without warning.
Thousands now have to start the grim process of reimbursing vacationers and airlines or accepting vouchers, while travel agencies that had hoped to get some money back in August are back in crisis. Summer 2020 will be a cooler one.
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