MADRID (Reuters) - The British government announced late on Saturday that all travellers returning from Spain would have to undergo a two-week COVID-19 quarantine, dismaying holidaymakers and dealing another blow to the Spanish tourism industry.
Last year, Britons made up over a fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, a popular European holiday destination that relies heavily on tourism revenues.
Here’s how different groups and politicians reacted:
* British tourist Emily Harrison, flying back to London from Madrid: “It’s really bad because it’s just come all of a sudden, it’s not given very much time to prepare, so everyone is now panicking.”
* John Snelling, 50, from Stratford-upon-Avon, who was on holiday in Menorca: “This is ridiculous. There are almost no cases here and there’s a far higher chance of contracting it when I get back to Britain.”
* Londoner Rich Lambert, waiting for a flight at Barcelona airport: “It’s a bit crazy considering the restrictions in place in Spain already are really good, with the masks, with disinfecting everything, with hand wash in the shops ... I would be more concerned about catching coronavirus in London than in Spain.”
* Spanish telecommunications worker and London resident Jorge Riveiro: “Since the number of cases here in Spain is rising I think it’s probably a sensible measure and I was expecting it to be honest.”
SPANISH FOREIGN MINISTER ARANCHA GONZALEZ LAYA
“Spain is safe, it is safe for Spaniards, it is safe for tourists.”
“As in every other country, we are seeing outbreaks, which are perfectly under control. Most new cases are asymptomatic.”
“Our dialogue efforts are focused for the moment around excluding the Balearic and Canary Islands from the quarantine measures.”
UK FOREIGN MINISTER DOMINIC RAAB
“We appreciate the disruption for travellers, anyone that’s at risk of losing money needs to go and talk to their travel operator and look at their insurance. But we must take these measures to avoid the risk of reinfection into the UK, given the very serious spike in cases in Spain.”
HOTELS AND TOUR OPERATORS
* Maria Frontera, head of Mallorca´s FEHM hotel association: “We received the two announcements from the British government yesterday with shock and surprise.”
“It will mean a direct and negative impact on reservations. We request the Spanish government intervene and make clear that there are regions within Spain where the pandemic is progressing well.”
* TUI UK said in a statement: “We know how much our customers look forward to their holiday abroad and some will be able to accommodate the new quarantine restrictions. Therefore all those that wish to travel to the Balearic Islands and Canary Islands will be able to travel as planned from Monday 27th July.”
Reporting by Reuters staff; Compiled by Nathan Allen; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Pravin Char
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