Britons are free to travel abroad but they will run the risk of having to quarantine upon return, a minister has said.
Holidaymakers who went to Spain will need to self isolate for two weeks when they touch down in the UK after the government suddenly announced the country would be removed from the no-quarantine list.
It followed a spike in coronavirus cases and fears that the popular destination is facing a second wave of COVID-19.
Local government minister Simon Clarke said all tourists should be aware that if they travel, they may face isolating after their return.
In Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she wouldn’t be booking a holiday as she warned Europe faces a coronavirus resurgence.
“I remain highly concerned, possibly increasingly concerned again, about the COVID risk,” she said on Tuesday.
“We are currently seeing a worrying resurgence of COVID cases, not just in far away parts of the world, but also in several countries across Europe right now.”
‘If you are asking me, I would not be booking a foreign holiday right now because of these reasons.’
Speaking to the BBC, Clarke said: “All holidays have to be taken understanding that foreign travel in the middle of a global pandemic which has caused devastation across the world has to be conducted against the backdrop of the government’s right to take steps to protect the UK.
“We’ve made enormous strides in this country over the last few weeks and we have now got the situation very largely under control.
“We cannot jeopardise that, we cannot render all the sacrifices that we’ve made redundant by failing to intervene to stop risk from being re-imported from abroad.
“By all means go on holiday, but understand that there is a chance that you might be asked to self-isolate on your return.”
The announcement caused anger and concern among tourists, with some wondering if they would get paid by their work if they had to isolate for two weeks.
Clarke said that travellers heading abroad will have to accept a “degree of uncertainty” and that he hoped employers would be “supportive” to people who have to isolate.
He added that the government can provide support to those in a “genuine crisis”.
Meanwhile, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez said the UK had miscalculated the rise in COVID-19 cases and brandished the imposition of a quarantine as “unjust”.
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