Spain is fighting to save its embattled tourism industry after the UK government imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from the country.
Spanish officials insist the virus is under control and want certain areas exempt, including the Balearic Islands.
The UK said it had no plans to change its decision, and extended its travel advice, telling nationals to avoid non-essential journeys to all of Spain.
Britons made about 18 million trips to Spain in 2019.
Junior UK health minister Helen Whately defended the quarantine decision, telling the BBC that after all the “sacrifices” made during the lockdown, the UK could not take the risk of going back to a situation of rising virus rates across the country.
Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez said on television on Monday evening that the UK’s decision was “misguided” and that he would continue to try to negotiate.
Spain’s rate of infection has jumped in recent days. While the outbreak remains under control in many parts of Spain, certain areas – in particular Catalonia in the north-east and the neighbouring region of Aragón – have seen a huge spike in infections.
Week ending 29/6/20 – 2589 cases
Week ending 6//7/20 – 4590 cases
Week ending 13/7/20 – 9016 cases
Week ending 20/7/20 – 8865 cases
On 8865 cases that is roughly 18.7 per 100,000 infection rate.
Latest update from Spain?
Local authorities have issued stay-at-home orders for some four million residents in Catalonia, including in the regional capital Barcelona. On Monday, Catalonia’s President Quim Torra said even stricter lockdown measures could be imposed if infection numbers did not improve in the next 10 days.
Spain imposed one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns in March to tackle coronavirus. The tight restrictions helped curb the infection rate, but also severely damaged the economy – in particular tourism.
Tourism accounts for about 11% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and a huge number of visitors come from the UK.
As a result, the country has been desperate to bring back visitors to help revive struggling towns and resorts.