PM warns of Europe ‘second wave’ amid Spain row

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Media titleBoris Johnson defends adding Spain to the quarantine list

Boris Johnson warned that there are signs of a “second wave” of coronavirus in Europe as he defended a 14-day quarantine against travelers from Spain.

The prime minister said the government needs to be “fast” – and it will continue to take further action “where needed.”

This came after the Spanish Prime Minister called the UK decision to change the rules for Spain “unfair”.

Pedro Sánchez said tourists in most regions of Spain would be more protected from the coronavirus than in the UK.

The UK advises against all non-essential travel to Spain, including the Balearic and Canary Islands. He also excluded Spain and its islands from the list of countries that are exempt from the 14-day quarantine rule.

Meanwhile, Germany has also recommended against a trip to three regions of Spain.

Speaking during a visit to Nottinghamshire, Mr. Johnson said: “What we need to do is take quick and decisive action when we believe risks are starting to pile up again.

“Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s going on in Europe, among our European friends, I’m afraid in some places you are starting to see signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”

“Stick with guidance”

When asked about reports that the 14-day period could be shortened – reportedly Daily telegraph – Mr. Johnson said: “We are always looking for ways to mitigate the impact of quarantine.”

“The moment you started sticking with the guidance we give, we gave guidance about Spain and some other places around the world.”

When asked if the 14-day quarantine period could be shortened, Transport Minister Baroness Vere responded that the government is “considering various options,” including “testing people on specific days” after they arrive.

Ministers are also “probably looking” at the idea of ​​restricting travel to regions rather than entire countries, she said during an urgent question in the House of Lords.

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Infection rate in Spain has jumped in recent days

Johnson said that if the UK does see signs of a second wave in other countries, the government has a responsibility to prevent travelers from returning and spreading the disease.

“It is very important that when people return from abroad, if they return from a place where I fear another outbreak has occurred, they should have been quarantined,” he said.

“This is why we took the actions that we have, and we will continue to take those actions where needed throughout the summer.”

First Scottish Minister Nicola Sturgeon echoed Johnson’s concerns, saying that “we are currently witnessing an alarming resurgence of Covid” in European countries.

She warned potential travelers not to assume that the quarantine measures would remain the same at the time of vacation booking as when they returned, adding: “I would not book a foreign vacation now.”

“Great Britain’s mistake”

In an interview with Telecinco, the Spanish Mr Sanchez said his government is “talking to the British authorities to try to get them to reconsider” the decision.

He said the UK made a “mistake” in taking into account the infection rate for the entire country.

He added that “64.5% of newly reported cases occur in two territories,” and in much of Spain, the prevalence of Covid-19 is “well below the numbers reported in the United Kingdom.”

The infection rate in Spain is 47.2 cases per 100,000 people, and in the UK it is 15. according to the latest data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.

While the outbreak remains under control in many parts of Spain, some areas – notably Catalonia in the northeast, including the city of Barcelona and the neighboring region of Aragon – are seeing a huge spike in infections.

Data before July 19 The incidence rate is estimated to be lower in the Balearic and Canary Islands than in mainland Spain.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Local Government Minister Simon Clarke said “we have seen a very dramatic increase in cases in Spain.”

“75% more cases reported from the middle of last week to the end of last week. That’s why we took the action that we have. “

On Tuesday, the UK government added Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines are on the list of countries that are exempt from the quarantine rule.

Travelers returning to the UK from any location not included in this list, including Spain, must now self-isolate for 14 days at a registered address.

People who don’t isolate themselves may be fined up to £ 1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and returnees to Scotland may be fined £ 480 and for persistent offenders up to £ 5,000.

Government sources told the BBC there are no plans to introduce tests at airports, and the priority to tidy up the running centers.

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In Barcelona, ​​some companies are quiet as residents are told to stay at home

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Tourism is important to Spain’s economy: Brits made about 18 million trips last year

Some travel agents say they are trying to understand the logic behind the UK government’s advice.

And MP Chris Bryant, who leads a parliamentary group across Spain, said: “Why the Canary Islands, which are further from Barcelona than Barcelona, ​​are on the UK list, as is mainland Spain, I just don’t understand.

“And in many, many parts of Spain, infection rates are much lower than in many parts of the UK. I think it was terribly bad. “

The Labor Party said the government’s handling of the restrictions was “chaotic” and urged it to step in to protect jobs in the travel industry.

“Airlines and passengers need clarity,” said Shadow Transport Secretary Jim McMahon.

Travel companies Jet2 and Tui were among those who announced drastic flight cancellations following the UK announcement.

EasyJet, British Airways and Ryanair have said they will continue to operate scheduled flights to Spain, although EasyJet said its holidays will be canceled over the next few weeks.

Among the thousands affected by the change in travel advice was Tom Clasby, who checked into an airport hotel near Stansted with his fiancée, their two daughters, and other family members ahead of a holiday to Mallorca.

Mr. Clasby, 26, was scheduled to leave on Tuesday at 06:55 BST.

“We are in a situation where there is nothing we can do, and I really don’t know what to do. The poor little girls were so excited about this holiday – this is the second holiday this year that we canceled, “he told the BBC.

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Tom Clasby

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“We’re just really disappointed, the girls are going to be so upset,” said Tom Clasby.

Also injured was Transport Minister Grant Chapps, who flew to Spain on Saturday. despite the fact that the decision on the quarantine policy,

Mr Schapps said in a statement that he will return to the UK on Wednesday to end quarantine and will return to work as soon as possible.

According to the latest government figures, seven more people with coronavirus have died in all localities in the UK, bringing the total number of UK deaths to 45,459.

Have new government recommendations influenced your travel plans? Have you returned to the UK and faced quarantine issues? Are you still stuck in Spain? Share your experience by email ,

Please provide a contact number if you would like to speak to a BBC reporter.


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