Britons rejoiced just a few weeks ago when the Government gave the go-ahead for travel to over 70 destinations across the globe. One such destination was beloved holiday hotspot Spain, but over the weekend a sudden surge in cases lead the foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to make a dramatic U-turn.
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Having reinstated its extreme travel advisory for Spain, the Canary and the Balearic islands, holidaymakers both currently in Spain and those with impending ding plans find themselves faced with potential holiday ruin.
Furthermore, travellers with plans to jet off to other destinations currently given the green light may be feeling anxiety about how fats the regulations can change.
Speaking on BBC News this morning, presenter Louise Minchin asked Sam Clarke MP, Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government about growing cases in France and Germany, and if he could share any insight into other destinations currently on the Governments “at-risk list”.
“The number of cases in both France and Germany is significantly lower than Spain, and so, therefore, there is no change to our guidance at this time,” he said.
“People who are travelling just need to be aware that if the situation changes, if it worsens, then we have to reserve the right to intervene, and that is going to remain the position.
“Equally we are not saying don’t travel, we are just saying travel aware that this is one of the things that has to be factored in.”
He also added a warning to Britons: “By all means go on holiday but understand there is a chance you may be asked to self isolate on your return.”
The MP also spoke on comments that “all holidays are essentially under threat”.
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“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 Governments right to take steps to protect the UK,” he said.
“We have made enormous strides in this country over the last few weeks and we have now got the situation very largely under control. we can not jeopardise that.
“We can not render all the sacrifices we have made redundant by failing to stop risks being imported from abroad.”
Following rising cases in various regions of Spain, sparking small localised lockdowns across the nation, the FCO issued a new update on travel to the country.
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The latest advice from the Government now reads: “From 27 July, the FCO advise against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.”
It adds: “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.”
The Government has received some criticism for how rapidly it changed the rules, with little forewarning.
However, Mr Clarke defended the move and said it was based on scientific information.
“The situation changed incredibly quickly, we got the data on Thursday and Friday about the 75 percent increase in cases relative to the middle of the week and we acted on Saturday,” he explained.
“I don’t think that there could have been a much prompter turnaround.
“Obviously we have to respond to the data, it is near to real-time as we can to avoid risk being imported into the country.
“That is I’m afraid the backdrop against which all foreign travel has to be conduct ted at the moment and if you do travel abroad there may be a change in a situation on the ground and you may be asked to self isolate upon your return.”
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