Boris Johnson has indicated on Tuesday, July 28 more European countries could be removed from the quarantine-free list, if a “second wave” hits the continent.
He already faces a diplomatic row with Spain after warning against all but essential travel to the country – and its resort islands – and forcing travellers arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days.
But Mr Johnson defended the move and insisted the Government would not hesitate to act if flare-ups of coronavirus occurred in other destinations.
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“I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic,” the Prime Minister warned.
“It’s vital that when people are coming back from abroad, if they are coming back from a place where I’m afraid there is another outbreak, they must go into quarantine.
“That’s why we have taken the action that we have and we will continue, throughout the summer, to take such action where it is necessary.”
But Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has described the restrictions on travel to the country as an “error”, pointing out that the upsurge in coronavirus cases is focused in two regions, Catalonia and Aragon.
The decision to impose quarantine restrictions was made after England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty reportedly told ministers that 10 Britons who tested positive for coronavirus after July 1 had reported visiting Spain in the 14 days before their test.
The Prime Minister said it was up to individuals to decide whether they wanted to take the risk of travelling in the present circumstances.
“These are decisions for families, for individuals, about where they want to go,” he said.
“I’m afraid if we do see signs of a second wave in other countries, it is really our job, our duty, to act swiftly and decisively to stop … travellers coming back from those places seeding the disease here in the UK.”