Spain has hit out at the UK government for its recent decision to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on travellers entering the UK from Spain,
It is also unhappy that Britain has issued a warning to its citizens not to travel there due to an increasing number of coronavirus infections.
Spain’s Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, said in a televised statement that the UK’s decision was based on flawed epidemiological reasoning.
In reality, most regions of Spain had a lower rate of infection than that present in Britain, Sánchez claimed.
Most of Spain has less infections that UK
He said the emergence of new infection clusters were centred on only two regions, Catalonia and Aragon. The UK’s error was to extrapolate these figures across all of Spain, he said.
“In most of Spain, the incidence (of the disease) is very much inferior to even the numbers registered in the United Kingdom.”
According to a BBC report, he added that: “We are talking with British authorities to try to get them to reconsider a measure that, in our opinion, is not well adjusted.”
Concern over Canary and Balearic islands
Spain is particularly concerned about the Canary and Balearic islands, which are popular destinations for British tourists.
Both of these, the Spanish PM said, had lower rates of infection than most parts of the UK and it would therefore safer for tourists to travel there than to destinations within Britain.
British government stands its ground
In its response on Tuesday, the British government said there had been no miscalculation.
“We respectfully disagree with the Spanish government’s position on this,” said Simon Clarke, Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government.
“A 75% increase in cases reported between the middle of last week and the end of last week. That’s why we took the action that we have,” he added.
“Clearly, you do have to make decisions on a country-wide basis. There is going to be internal transfer within Spain and it’s important that we do our utmost to protect the public.”
Germany warns against travel to three regions
Meanwhile, the Spanish position was at least partially vindicated on Tuesday when Germany’s foreign ministry warned against unnecessary tourist trips to only three specific regions in Spain.
In a statement, the ministry said Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra were not recommended due to the high number of infections.
It quoted figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control for the new restrictions on German travellers.