CORONAVIRUS

No quarantine for UK travelers entering Spain, foreign minister confirms

Arancha González Laya told the BBC on Saturday that there will be no reciprocal requirement for two-week isolation, just hours before the Spanish border was due to reopen to European Union and Schengen area travelers

Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya in a file photo.
Spain's Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya in a file photo.Reuters

Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya told the BBC on Saturday that travelers from the United Kingdom will not need to undergo a two-week coronavirus quarantine when they arrive on Spanish soil, despite the fact that all passengers traveling to the former country are currently required to self-isolate for a 14-day period.

The confirmation came the day before the border will reopen, and after a week of uncertainty that began on Sunday when the Spanish government announced that borders would reopen on June 21 to European Union and Schengen-area countries. Spain locked down its frontiers during the state of alarm that was implemented on March 14 in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

It was at first unclear on Sunday whether UK travelers would be included within this group of countries, given that it officially left the European Union earlier this year. However, a Spanish government source later confirmed that UK citizens would be able to travel to Spain from Sunday, given that the UK is in a Brexit transition period and still enjoys full rights as an EU state.

Just days later, during an interview with the BBC’s HARDTalk news show, González Laya floated the idea of a reciprocal quarantine for UK travelers, given the restrictions that are still in place in that country for arrivals and that are unlikely to be reviewed until at least the end of the month. But on Saturday she finally confirmed to the British broadcaster that visitors will not have to quarantine, but will be subject to a “triple check” to look for coronavirus symptoms on arrival at the country’s airports, and will have to register “so we know we have a contact point to trace them.”

“We want to make sure that we welcome visitors, but we want to do this in safety and security for them, as well as for the Spaniards,” the BBC reported her as saying. The minister said that the decision had been taken “out of respect” for the hundreds of thousands of people from the UK who own properties in Spain.

The minister also said that conversations were ongoing with the UK authorities to exempt Spanish arrivals from the two-week isolation rules.

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