By Ian Brodie and Agencies
The Spanish government announced at the weekend that British tourists will be able to visit Spain without having to endure a 14-day lockdown. However, until the UK government abandons its own quarantine, returning UK tourists will have to stay at home for two weeks on their return.
Meanwhile, a Spanish foreign ministry source said on Friday that the two countries are in talks over the prospect of implementing an ‘air bridge’. The air bridge would mean that UK travellers to Spain would be exempt from quarantine on their return to the UK. At the moment, many UK holiday-makers are wary about foreign travel because of the need to self-isolate for 14 days on the return home.
Amid repeated changes over the past weeks on when and how to open its borders to much-needed foreign tourists, Spain had said on Tuesday that it was considering imposing a quarantine on British travellers in response to a similar policy announced by Britain.
Britons account for more than a fifth of the roughly 80 million tourists Spain receives every year, and Madrid had said it would talk with London to try to avoid such a quarantine at both ends.
“Spain is willing to be open to the United Kingdom, we are in talks with them about their quarantine. We are in a position to open (our borders to UK tourists) without a quarantine,” the foreign ministry source said, adding that he expected a decision before Spain opens its borders to tourists from most European countries, including Britain, on Sunday.
Britain, with more than 42,000 documented coronavirus-linked deaths, and Spain, with more than 28,000, have been among the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. Both are easing lockdown restrictions, including border closures.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now expected to announce on June 29 that agreements have been reached for air bridges with a “small number” of countries with low levels of coronavirus infections, according to the Daily Telegraph. If this is the case, the implication is that the 14-day quarantine rule will stay in force for visitors from other countries, including returning travellers, at least until the next review date on July 20.
Countries such as Portugal, Greece and France are all being considered for bilateral agreements which would allow British holidaymakers to fly from July 4 without facing a 14-day quarantine on their arrival or return.