Quarantine for people arriving from Spain and other countries designated high-risk coronavirus zones will be cut to 10 days under new plans, it is reported.
Under the new plans, tourists will be able to come out of isolation two days later if they test negative, but will have to remain in quarantine for the full two weeks if not.
The new move could save almost a full working week from the self-isolation requirement, and will allow travellers to return to their normal lives more rapidly.
The move comes as the government’s sudden U-turn on Sunday night forcing those arriving to the UK from Spain to quarantine for 14 days sparked outrage from sunseekers.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab announced the move after 10 Brits tested positive for coronavirus after returning from the Mediterranean country this month.
Ministers were told that the imported cases were “statistically significant” and decided they could not allow millions of people going to Spain over the summer holiday season.
Airlines, hotels and hospitality venues pleaded with the government to exclude Spain’s islands in the quarantine plans.
However, Raab said the measures would be blanket across the whole of Spain, including the Canary Islands and the Balearics, despite lower rates of infection. The Foreign Office now warns against “all but essential travel” to Spain.
The quarantine rules are likely to cause chaos for up to 1.8m British holidayers either currently in the country or about to go.
The move marked a blow for both transport secretary Grant Shapps, and the chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove, who had both booked trips to Spain. Shapps said he will cut his holiday short and return from Spain this evening, while Gove will cancel his plans getaway to Ibiza this weekend.
Airline Jet2 last night suspended all Spanish flights and told customers not to go to the airport today.
The carrier tweeted a statement, saying: “Following the latest government advice regarding travel to mainland Spain from the UK, we have taken the decision to suspend our flights and holidays programme to Costa de Almeria, Alicante, Malaga and Murcia from 28 July up to and including 16 August”.