Most of us woke up this morning to discover that the UK Government has imposed a 14-day quarantine restriction of holidaymakers returning from Spain.
Setting aside the fact that the UK has hardly been the paradigm of how to tackle Coronavirus, this blanket decision on the whole of Spain can only be described as overreacting.
Cataluña is badly hit by what seems to be a second wave of infections, causing the Regional Government to go ahead and shutdown nightclubs and discotheques – a prime source of infection. Murcia has also shut down nightlife establishments.
Other regions such as Madrid – another hotspot going back to March – is not contemplating this however.
The blow to airlines and tour operators in general is considerable as they have been dealing with a deluge of customers for Spain holidays. It is estimated that around 1.5m Britons have made reservations for holidays in Spain and are now facing the decision to cancel or postpone their summer holiday. Others are already here on short breaks and now face two weeks confined to their UK homes.
As for Spanish tourists visiting the UK…
In the UK they’re registering around 500 new cases a day with restrictions imposed in Blackburn and relaxed in Leicester meaning that like Spain the number of cases is regionalised.
But the huge difference is how each country and their inhabitants are dealing with restrictions: in regions such as Andalucia, to mention one, obligatory mask use is in force and the majority of people are obeying this norm. You can’t go anywhere without having to use hand sanitiser. Social distancing is obeyed by the vast majority of beachgoers and when driving just about every oncoming car has people wearing masks in them.
Can the UK boast the same? In effect, one of the most irresponsible countries in Europe, where Coronavirus handling is concerned, imposes restrictions on one of the most responsible.
Belgium has imposed restrictions on travel to Cataluña and parts of Aragón… but not on the whole country. France ‘recommends’ not travelling to these areas, all of which is logical, but putting a quarantine on people returning from the whole of Spain with virtually no notice? The Canary Islands, a prime destination for UK tourists, has only 2,483 cases.
Lastly, having just spoken with Dave Darby who returned from the UK last night, he said that the restriction was announced at the airport and about a quarter of the passengers for his flight opted not to board.