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People wearing face masks arrive at Talamanca beach in Ibiza - JAIME REINA /AFP
People wearing face masks arrive at Talamanca beach in Ibiza – JAIME REINA /AFP

Spain’s tourism minister has said the country will not impose any reciprocal quarantine measures on travellers arriving from Britain, even as fears rise about a second wave of Covid-19 infections hitting the UK.

Reyes Morato pleaded for tourists to “come back to Spain” in an interview with the Telegraph.

More than 10,000 British tourists have cancelled holidays to Majorca in the first two weeks of August alone after the sudden decision to quarantine travellers on their arrival back in the UK.

Ms Morato said Spain was “not contemplating” a 14-day quarantine for UK arrivals as Spain was in a phase of “reactivation” and had “learned to co-exist” with Covid-19.

“We have to respect it but we don’t have to fear it”, Ms Morato said.

“We now have functioning protocols and therefore we need to be a bit more flexible as we confront this second stage of the pandemic,” she added.

The minister repeated concerns from within the Spanish government that the UK’s quarantine rules were “disproportionate”, and said there was a mismatch between destinations favoured by UK holidaymakers, and the regions of the country that have witnessed new outbreaks.

British tourists appear increasingly reluctant to face the uncertainty over flight cancellations, entry procedures and possible lockdowns in Spain.

In early June, Spain was registering fewer than 100 new cases of Covid-19 per day, but that figure shot back up to more than 1,500 on Thursday, led by cases in the Aragon and Madrid regions.

In July, the Catalonia region was also forced to reimpose a full lockdown on the city of Lerida, which has only just been lifted.

Ms Morato admitted Spain needed to boost confidence in its ability to handle the virus.

Covid-19 tests in airports were “on the table”, she said, along with a tracking app to alert travellers of potential cases around them.

Spain is desperate to recuperate some of the losses of economic shutdown caused by the virus. Its GDP shrank 18.5 per cent in the second quarter, economic data released on Friday showed, representing the biggest drop in economic activity since Spain’s 1930s civil war.

With the economy facing an uncertain autumn, Spain is also keen to maintain its strong commercial relationship with Britain as Brexit looms.

Morato described the UK as “an ally, without a doubt”, and told the Telegraph she was “convinced that Brexit can also be an opportunity to continue strengthening our ties, culturally and commercially”.



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