British travellers can now enter Spain with no need to self-isolate for 14 days. The quarantine requirement was dropped at midnight, local time.
But UK visitors to the mainland, Balearic and Canary Islands will be going against current Foreign Office travel advice – and must spend two weeks in self-isolation when they return home.
Spain’s foreign affairs minister told the BBC that British citizens will be allowed to enter the country freely, without the need to self-isolate.
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With new coronavirus cases very low, the country is lifting quarantine for all European visitors from today. Arancha González Laya said the decision had been made “out of respect” for the 400,000 Britons who have second homes in Spain.
“We’ve made a decision which will allow British visitors to enter Spain just like the rest of the European Union or Schengen Area as from 21 June, freely and without the need for a quarantine,” she said.
“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 Spaniards.”
The “state of alarm” that has prevailed since 13 March lifts throughout the country today, with travel between regions permitted once again.
Arrivals from the UK will have their temperature checked and must provide contact details for their stay.
Ms González said that discussions are taking place to make Spanish travellers to Britain exempt from UK quarantine.
Department for Transport officials are negotiating reciprocal no-quarantine deals known as “air bridges” or “travel corridors” with key destination countries. Spain is at the top of the list, with France, Portugal, Italy and Greece also likely to be included.
But at present the Foreign Office advice and UK quarantine rules rule out trips to Mediterranean for almost anyone except for second home owners who can “lurk” until the UK eases its rules for returning British travellers.
The UK’s biggest holiday company, Tui, is telling customers: “We promise we’ll only take you on quarantine-free holidays. This means we won’t travel to places where we know that you’ll need to self-isolate when you arrive or when you return home.”