People flying into Britain from Spain have attacked the government’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on people returning from the country, saying they were given no warning and that they felt safer in Spain.
As flights from Jerez, Alicante, Valencia and Palma landed in quick succession on Sunday afternoon at Stansted airport, passengers found themselves faced with the realisation that they were about to enter into an unexpected period of self-isolation.
Holidaymakers said the decision gave them mere hours to book flights to return to Britain or face the 14-day quarantine period. Mark, a postman from Essex who returned to the UK with his family from Mallorca, said he scrambled to get a flight home on Saturday. “We got a message saying that it was happening. I looked for flights but we only had four hours to get back. So it was too late.”
The government’s decision, announced on Saturday night, to remove Spain from the list of countries on its travel corridor scheme – after Covid-19 outbreaks in the Aragon and Catalonia regions – threw thousands of people’s holiday plans into chaos.
Becky and Chloe from Hastings, who did not want to give their surnames, said they were struggling to understand the government’s reasoning for the sudden decision after a break in Alicante where safety measures were strictly followed and in an area where there had only been a handful of Covid-19 cases.
“The place where were staying is a tiny little town and they’ve not really had any Covid-19” said Becky. “But coming back now is just a bit crap, because we’ve got to quarantine. I felt safer over there because everyone was wearing a face mask.
“Every other measure that they’ve implemented has come with a few day’s notice, but this one has come so suddenly,” she added.
Chloe said the government’s advice was inconsistent and confusing. “They say you can go to court and you can go to a funeral, but you can’t do anything else,” she said.
“So can I go and see my family at a funeral? We’ve been in Spain for the last week where everyone has been wearing a mask, while over here people have just started wearing a mask at the supermarket.”