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Whether it be a sunny beach trip to Malaga or the Canary Islands, or a sight-seeing visit to Madrid or Barcelona, Brits can’t get enough of Spanish holidays. But to the disappointment of holidaymakers, this year many were forced to cancel their holidays to Spain due to travel restrictions during the UK lockdowns.
Can we still travel to Spain?
The second national lockdown in England has now ended, and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office regularly updates its list of countries approved as a UK travel corridor nation.
If a nation is on the FCDO list, people do not need to self-isolate after arriving back in the UK.
At the moment Spain is not included on the FCDO list of UK travel corridors, and this means anyone who visits Spain will be required to self-isolate upon return to the UK.
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There are some exemptions on the self-isolation advice for people who have certain jobs.
Currently people are allowed to visit the Canary Islands without needing to self-isolate after arriving in the UK – but this guidance will soon change.
It was announced on Thursday, December 11 that the Canary Islands will also be removed from the FCDO’s travel corridor list.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on Twitter the Canary Islands will be removed from the travel corridor list from 4am on Saturday, December 12.
Mr Shapps wrote: “Data indicates weekly cases and positive tests are increasing in the CANARY ISLANDS and so we are REMOVING them from the #TravelCorridor list to reduce the risk of importing COVID-19.
“From 4am Sat 12 Dec, if you arrive from these islands you WILL need to self-isolate.”
The removal of the Canary Islands will affect a number of UK residents currently visiting the popular holiday spot.
Tour operator Tui said it has around 5,000 UK holidaymakers on the islands, and a further 800 people booked to fly out on Friday morning.
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The company is offering customers due to be on the islands between Friday and December 17 the chance to change their dates or choose another destination.
Tui will continue to operate flights unless the FCDO strengthens its travel advice in relation to the Canary Islands.
How long is the self-isolation period?
Across the UK contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 will now only have to self-isolate for 10 days rather than 14.
This reduction in the self-isolation period will also apply to people who have to quarantine after returning from countries considered high-risk.
A statement from the four UK chief medical officers (CMOs) said: “After reviewing the evidence, we are now confident that we can reduce the number of days that contacts self-isolate from 14 days to 10.
“People who return from countries which are not on the travel corridor list should also self-isolate for 10 days instead of 14 days.”
From December 15, England will also launch its new “Test to Release” service.
People travelling to countries not on the FCO travel corridor list will be able to pay for a Covid test at least five days after arriving back in the UK.
If the Covid test comes back as negative, a person’s self-isolation period will decrease from 10 days to five.
The Government website will soon include details of test providers for the new scheme.
It is hoped the new scheme will help people to travel more widely again after months of restrictions, and provide much-needed assistance to the tourism sector.
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