Spain is considering imposing quarantine restrictions for visitors from the UK unless the British Government lifts its own two week isolation rule.
It comes as Spanish officials said yesterday that Brits would be allowed to enter the country from 21 June – ten days earlier than expected.
But Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya warned in an interview on the BBC that restrictions may be imposed just for Brits.
She said: “We will be checking what the UK will be doing and we will be in a dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the European Union.”
She dubbed the situation “fluid” and said officials would “properly engage in a dialogue with the UK authorities to make sure that we both take the message that best corresponds to the health situation, which today is a little bit better in Spain than it is in the UK”.
“Hopefully by the time we open our borders, the UK would have moved forward also,” she added.
One of the most visited destinations by UK residents, the Spanish government has sent mixed signals on when it was set to reopen borders, having announced numerous dates in recent weeks.
But now it has been announced that tourists from the EU and Schengen area will now be able to enjoy a holiday from June 21 – when Spain’s state of emergency ends.
The Schengen area composes of 26 countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Slovakia, Finland, Norway, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, Luxembourg, Malta, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.
“Tourism is a key sector for the economic recovery,” Prime
Minister Pedro Sanchez previously told a news briefing.
“We have been able to corner the virus in our country and on the European continent… but the risk has not disappeared.”
Tourists from outside the EU or Schengen area will be able to visit from July 1.
Portugal is set to keep its borders closed until July 1st.
The number of cases and fatalities in Spain continue to decline, with just 27 deaths in the last week.
A total of 27,136 deaths have been recorded across the entire country.
Visitors will have to wear a mask in crowded public spaces until a cure or vaccine for coronavirus is found.
Currently the Foreign Office warn against all but non essential travel abroad.
And travellers arriving in the UK face 14 days of isolation under mandatory quarantine rules – with fines threatened for anyone who flouts the rules.
But sources have claimed that travel to low-risk countries could soon be allowed, in order to restart the economy.
Travel bosses firmly opposed to the guidelines claim that government sources have privately confirmed that ‘air bridges’ will be in place by the end of the month.
These would allow travellers arriving from countries where the risk of being infected by the virus is deemed low enough being able to dodge quarantine.
Last Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said officials are talking to airlines about the possibility of opening up air bridges.
Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing, Mr Shapps said the quarantine measures had been imposed to curb the spread of the infection.
He continued: “Then we would look at if we could open up air bridges, which might be better described as travel corridors, and that’s something that we’re actively working on.
“The first review of this takes place on June 29.
“We are talking to airlines and talking to airports and will talk to other countries about it, but the basic principle must be that we don’t end up in a second wave situation.”
Airlines British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have all announced plans to launch legal action against the Government’s 14-day quarantine policy, claiming it will “have a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy, and destroy thousands of jobs”.