The Balearic and Canary Islands have been added to the list of areas where all non-essential travel should be avoided, the UK government has said. The move comes after Downing Street warned “no travel is risk-free” after a coronavirus quarantine requirement for people arriving in the UK from Spain was reintroduced.
The UK’s foreign office (FCO) updated its travel advice for visits to Spain, saying: “The FCO advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of Covid-19 risks in the country.”
An FCO spokesman said: “We have considered the overall situation for British nationals travelling to and from the Balearic and Canary Islands, including the impact of the requirement to self-isolate on return to the UK, and concluded that we should advise British nationals against all non-essential travel to the whole of Spain.”
The announcement came after the British prime minister’s official spokesman said decisions on border measures and travel advice “can be changed rapidly if necessary to help stop the spread of the disease”.
He went on:
“Unfortunately no travel is risk-free during this pandemic and disruption is possible and so anyone travelling abroad should be aware that our travel advice and exemption list is under constant review as we monitor the international situation.”
The decision comes after the Spanish government said it was in talks with the UK about excluding the Balearic and Canary Islands from its quarantine measures.
Earlier on Monday, the Northern Ireland Minister of Health Robin Swann appeared before the Stormont Assembly to answer an urgent oral question about his decision to introduce a 14-day quarantine for those arriving from Spain. Mr Swann told MLAs that his decision was supported by the Executive and had been based on detailed scientific information.
“The evidence was considered so strong that delay was not feasible, the risk to the Northern Ireland population was too great to delay another day,” he said.
“I will continue to make decisions based on scientific information to determine which countries may be removed or added to the exemption list and will move quickly to remove any country when the evidence supports this.
“The health and safety of the people of Northern Ireland is my main priority.”
Referring to a meeting of the Northern Ireland Executive which was held earlier, Robin Swann said the new quarantine was the only item on the agenda.
“The Department for the Economy and the Minister for the Economy is now engaging with employers to make sure there is flexible support to those people who have been in Spain and now face a 14-day quarantine,” he said.