TRANSPORT Secretary Grant Shapps is to dash back to the UK from Spain after being caught up in own quarantine shambles.
He told The Sun this afternoon he was leaving his family in Spain and cutting his holiday short – just hours after he landed there on Saturday.
He said he would return to work immediately on the chaotic travel policy which has landed ministers in a mess.
It’s understood that he flew out at the weekend aware that a possible quarantine would come into place – meaning he would have to isolate for two weeks on his return.
The Minister is heading back to the UK after pressure to deal with the fallout from the sudden decision to impose quarantine restrictions in Spain at the weekend.
Mr Shapps is expected to arrive back in the UK on Wednesday but will self-isolate for 14 days and work from home.
It comes as:
In a statement Mr Shapps said: “Thousands of people have seen their holidays disrupted or cancelled due to the necessary emergency imposition of quarantine restrictions on Spain.
“I’ve been in constant contact with officials and industry representatives since I arrived in Spain on Saturday afternoon, when I reviewed the data and worked with colleagues to make a difficult decision to introduce quarantine.
“However, I think it’s right to get back to work in the UK as soon as possible in order to help handle the situation.
“The sooner I get back from Spain myself, the sooner I can get through quarantine.
“So I’m leaving my family to travel back to the UK on Wednesday.”
On Saturday a blanket quarantine was introduced so anyone returning to the UK from Spain now has to isolate for two weeks at home.
Foreign Office advice was changed to ban all but essential travel to mainland Spain.
And today the Government included the Balearic islands in the restricted travel spots, after spending days mulling over whether to include Ibiza and Majorca.
Spain’s current isolation rules
FOREIGN OFFICE ADVICE:
- Don’t travel to mainland Spain unless essential
- Travel to Spain’s islands is allowed
14 DAY QUARANTINE
- Everyone coming back from Spain OR the Spanish islands must quarantine for 14 days at home
- They must self isolate and give an address of where they are staying, or they face a £1000 fine
No10 said today: “No travel is risk-free during this pandemic. Anyone travelling abroad should be aware that our travel advice and exemption list is under constant review as we monitor the international situation”.
Paul Charles, founder of the travel PR consultancy firm PC Agency, told The Times that people were cancelling their bookings in caution. He said: “People are cancelling not just Spain but other short-haul bookings.
“We’ve heard of lots of cancellations for holidays to France, Italy and Greece.”
Brits are being warned not to cancel their own holidays to Spain as they may be left out of pocket, and to wait for tour operators to cancel them.
However, families who have booked flights and hotels separately may not get their money back as both remain operational.
France saw 1,130 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, while Italy daily cases jumped from 128 to 306 last week. Greece has seen coronavirus cases also rise since international tourists returned from July 1.
Mr Charles continued: “Dominic Raab said they wouldn’t hesitate to introduce quarantine measures on other countries and that’s simply put fear into people.”
The Foreign Secretary told Sky’s Sophy Ridge yesterday: “As we’ve found with Spain, we can’t give a guarantee.”
Travel: What are your rights to a refund?
MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled.
Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.
You are entitled to a refund if they’ve cancelled your holiday but many have large delays or may offer vouchers instead.
As the FCO is advising against all but essential international travel, you may also be covered by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.
Keep in mind the travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCO advice changed, otherwise you won’t be covered.
If you don’t have travel insurance, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.
Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.
To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.