Spain may quarantine UK visitors, foreign minister tells BBC

Spain is considering imposing a quarantine on visitors from Britain when it re-opens its borders next week, Spain's Foreign Minister said, in response to a similar policy introduced last week for travellers to Britain.

Arancha Gonzalez Laya told the BBC she hoped Britain would lift its restriction, making a reciprocal Spanish one unnecessary.

"We will be in a dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the European Union," she said in an advance excerpt from current affairs programme HARDtalk.

Britain, with more than 41,000 documented coronavirus-linked deaths, and Spain, with more than 27,000, have been two of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic.

Both, along with other European countries, are in the process of easing lockdown restrictions that have included border closures.

Spanish officials gave no mention of any quarantine curbs on Sunday, when the government moved forward the date for allowing European visitors back into the country to June 21 from July 1.

In recent weeks, Spain has caused some confusion in neighbouring countries by repeatedly changing the date and conditions for lifting the ban on foreign visitors it imposed in March in response to the epidemic.

Spain counts on tourism for about 12 percent of its economy and more than one in eight jobs, making it essential for the country to try and salvage some of the summer holiday season.

Britain's Finance Minister Rishi Sunak told Sky News on Sunday that the quarantine was among measures it would review, saying the government could make changes including introducing travel corridors with specific countries.

Spain's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.