Spain may not open fully for British holidaymakers next Sunday because of the UK’s quarantine rules.
After the Spanish prime minister announced the early opening of the country to many European visitors on 21 June, officials in Madrid later confirmed that British travellers were included.
But speaking to the BBC’s HardTalk programme, the foreign affairs minister has warned that Spain may retain a two-week quarantine on arrivals from the UK.
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While the Spain’s existing self-isolation requirement is due to be lifted on Sunday for many nationalities, the government in Madrid is indignant that its citizens must quarantine on arrival in Britain – even though Spanish rates of infection are much lower.
Spain is the favourite overseas destination for UK holidaymakers.
Arancha Gonzalez Laya told HardTalk: “We will be checking what the UK will be doing.
“We will be in dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the EU.”
There is general bemusement in many European countries that the UK introduced quarantine at a time when its infection rates are much higher than those in almost all other countries.
Ms Gonzales said: “The health situation … today is a little bit better in Spain than it is in the UK.”
She also set an ultimatum for the British government to announce an “air bridge” – a reciprocal no-quarantine deal – with Spain before Sunday.
“Hopefully by the time we open our borders, the UK would have moved forward also,” she said.
Meanwhile Britain’s biggest holiday company, Tui, has said it will restart operations from the UK “later in the summer”.
At present the travel firm has cancelled all British departures up to and including 10 July.
But with no indication of when the Foreign Office will lift its general warning against all-but-essential travel abroad, and no certainty about when the UK quarantine policy will be softened, Tui may shortly delay the resumption of operations still further.
Tui is already running holidays from Germany.
The company says it will operate about 30 per cent of its planned Europe-wide trips through the summer.
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