The Foreign Office has extended its advice against all but essential travel to the whole of Spain.
An update from the FCO on Saturday advised against non-essential travel to mainland Spain, but excluded the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands.
That announcement corresponded with the government’s decision to remove the whole of Spain including the islands from the list of countries from which travellers are exempt from quarantine on arrival in the UK.
Industry leaders had called for air bridges to be set up between the islands and the UK, arguing that they were safer destinations than the mainland. On Monday afternoon, the BBC said a government source had confirmed talks were ongoing.
Major tour operators including Tui and latterly Jet2holidays suspended their programmes to mainland Spain, but were continuing to fly to the Canaries and Balearics based on the FCO’s guidance.
The FCO said it has now extended its advice to cover the entire country following an assessment of Covid-19 risks.
It said the advice was based on evidence of an increased number of cases of Covid-19 in several regions including Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, which includes the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona.
Holidaymakers in Spain are not being advised to leave at this time.
The updated advice says: “The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time. Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.
“If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.”
Tui and Jet2holidays cancelled holidays to the islands following the advice. Tui cancelled its programme until Friday, while Jet2 confirmed it would not operate outbound flights to anywhere in Spain on Tuesday and would provide a further update.
Webcast: Spain quarantine: ‘The government is not learning.’
(Recorded Monday morning)