Monday, August 10, 2020

UK coronavirus live: Spanish PM attacks ‘error’ of quarantine travel restrictions | World news


The decision to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on travellers entering the UK from Spain and to warn Britons against travelling to the country is an error based on incorrect epidemiological reasoning, the prime minister of Spain has said.

Speaking on Spanish television on Monday night, Pedro Sanchez said much of his country, a hotspot for UK tourists, had a lower infection rate than the UK. Last year, British tourists comprised over a fifth of foreign visitors to Spain, which relies heavily on tourism.

“The error, in my judgement, and hence the lack of alignment of the United Kingdom’s response, is based on considering the cumulative incidence of (the virus in) the entire country,” Sanchez said in an interview with Telecinco television.

The rebound in coronavirus cases is focused in two regions, Catalonia and Aragon, he said, adding: “In most of Spain, the incidence (of the disease) is very much inferior to even the numbers registered in the United Kingdom.”

He added, according to the BBC: “We are talking with British authorities to try to get them to reconsider a measure that, in our opinion, is not well adjusted if we consider epidemiological criteria of Spain, particularly in some tourist destinations in our country.”

A waitress serves tourists at a restaurant in Palmanova on the island of Mallorca on Monday.

A waitress serves tourists at a restaurant in Palmanova on the island of Mallorca on Monday. Photograph: Jaime Reina/AFP/Getty Images

The Socialist prime minister said the British government had given Spain advance warning of the quarantine move. Madrid is trying to persuade Boris Johnson’s government to change its mind, Sanchez said, adding that the two governments were “friends”.

Madrid had on Monday been focusing its efforts on getting the Balearic and Canary Islands, which have a low coronavirus rate, off London’s quarantine list. Instead the UK added them to its guidance advising against all non-essential travel.

Sanchez said that the two archipelagos, as well as the regions of Valencia and Andalusia, had a lower infection rate than Britain.

“It would be safer to be in those destinations than in the United Kingdom,” he said.

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