Transport secretary will have to self-isolate after Spain holiday following his department's rule changes

·2-min read
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in Downing Street following a cabinet meeting ahead of the Budget.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps reportedly flew out to Spain on Saturday morning. (PA)

Grant Shapps will have to quarantine for 14 days after coming back from Spain following the government’s decision to shut the so-called “travel corridor”.

The transport secretary, whose department announced the rule change, flew to Spain on Saturday morning to start his summer holiday.

The government announced on Saturday that holidaymakers returning from the Iberian nation will have to quarantine for 14 days after Spain reported more than 900 new daily infections in the past two days.

The decision will affect people returning to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - with the four nations opting to join forces over the move.

Passengers arrive at Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport in London, as new quarantine measures for international arrivals come into force.
New quarantine measures will see people from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales forced to self isolate upon return from Spain. (PA)

A government spokesperson confirmed on Saturday that the transport secretary is currently on holiday in Spain and will be forced to self-isolate upon his return.

Shapps was instrumental in drawing up the government’s scheme to create air bridges to scores of countries earlier this month despite concerns he was relaxing restrictions too quickly.

The cabinet minister plans to complete his holiday before returning to work, and will follow quarantine rules should they still be in place at the end of his trip, it is understood.

Shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth said “you couldn’t make it up” after news of Shapps's situation emerged.

Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday, the Labour MP said: “You couldn’t make it up that Grant Shapps is over there on holiday in Spain when he is the transport secretary.

"I think that tells you everything about the sort of government approach to this.”

The reintroduction of quarantine measures will apply to those returning from mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands, such as Palma and Ibiza, the Department for Transport (DfT) confirmed.

The Foreign Office is now advising against all but essential travel to mainland Spain.

"The Joint Biosecurity Centre together with Public Health England have updated their coronavirus assessments of Spain based on the latest data,” a government spokesman said.

"As a result, Spain has been removed from the lists of countries from which passengers arriving in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are exempted from the need to self-isolate.

"Protecting public health is our absolute priority and we have taken this decision to limit any potential spread to the UK.

"We've always been clear that we would act immediately to remove a country where necessary.

"Both our list of quarantine exemptions and the FCO travel advice are being updated to reflect these latest risk assessments."

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