People set to jet off to Spain are now being advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) against "all but essential travel" following a spike in coronavirus cases in the country.
Visitors returning from the country to the UK will also be required to quarantine for 14 days.
But are the Balerics and Canary Islands included in the travel advice and quarantine rules? Here’s what you need to know.
Can I still travel to the Balearics or Canaries?
The advice for travellers set to travel mainland Spain was updated on 26 July, advising against ‘all but essential travel’, with the country being removed from the travel corridor list.
This did not initially include the Balearic and Canary Islands, but on 27 July the FCO updated its advice to include the Balearic and Canary Islands.
The Foreign Office’s official guidance states: “FCO advice against all non-essential travel to Spain now applies to the whole country, including the Balearic and Canary Islands.”
This updated advice is “based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks in the country.”
The Canary Islands are Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa.
The Balearic Islands comprise Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera.
Will I have to quarantine after returning from the Canary or Balearic Islands?
Visitors returning to the UK from the Canary and Balearic Islands will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
This rule also applies to all visitors returning from mainland Spain.
The quarantine rules apply to people returning to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Travellers entering Spain from the UK will not be required to self-isolate on arrival. However, they will be subject to the following three requirements:
- Provide the Spanish Ministry of Health with mandatory contact information and any history of exposure to COVID-19 48 hours prior to travel
- Temperature check
- Undergo a visual health assessment
Why has the travel advice changed?
This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia, which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Spain has recorded 39.4 cases of coronavirus per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks.
The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time, but travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect both themselves and others, including any measures that the authorities bring in to control the virus.
“If you are returning from Spain you will be required to self-isolate on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey,” explains the FCO.
Have airlines cancelled flights?
Jet2 has suspended its flights to mainland spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.
The airline posted a statement on Twitter, saying: “Following the latest government advice regarding travel to Mainland Spain from the UK, we have taken the decision to suspend our flights and holidays programme to Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia from 28th July up to and including 16th August.”
Customers with inbound flights from Mainland Spain to the UK up until 3 August will return on their flights as booked, and customers with inbound flights to the UK between 4 and 16 August will be contacted to discuss their options, explains the airline.
After the official FCO advice for the Balearic and Canary Islands was updated, Jet2 posted another tweet telling customers to not go to the airport on 28 July.
The tweet said: “Following the latest government advice regarding travel to the Balaeric and Canary Islands from the UK, we are advising customers who are due to travel to the following destinations (Tenerife, Fuerterventua, Gran Canaria, Lanzoarote, Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza) not to go to the airport tomorrow (Tuesday 28th July) as we are not operating flights to these destinations.”
This advice also applies to “any of our destinations” in mainland Spain, explains the airline.
Tour operator TUI has also cancelled all British holidays to mainland Spain until August 9.
EasyJet has said that it will operate its full schedule in the coming day, but customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of their booking.
However, all of its Spain holidays are cancelled until 1 August.
British Airways is also continuing to fly to Spain, but customers are able to claim a voucher for future travel if they no longer wish to fly to or from Spain.