United Kingdom advises against all but essential travel to Spain in wake of coronavirus state of alarm

The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office (FCO) has updated its Travel Advice to advise against all but essential travel to Spain, following the restrictions put in place by the Spanish government in response to the outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus[1].

“On March 14, the Spanish government introduced a State of Emergency, which imposes significant restrictions on movement[2] throughout Spain in response to the coronavirus outbreak,” the British Embassy in Spain said via a press release. “We keep our travel advice under constant review and recommend that British nationals sign up for alerts, so they know when it has been updated. Anyone with upcoming journeys planned, should check with their airlines and tour operators for the latest information. Wherever you are in Spain you should follow the instructions of the local authorities.”

The British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, recorded a video message for UK nationals explaining the implications of the state of alarm[3] for both residents and tourists.

He also had a message of gratitude. “A big thank you to the Spanish authorities, in particular the healthcare professionals[4], for all the great work they are doing to help keep everyone in Spain – of all nationalities – safe, in circumstances that are very challenging indeed.”

On Saturday British airline Jet2 announced that it was cancelling all flights to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect. “The health and safety of our customers is the number one priority, and we would like to thank our customers for their understanding,” a statement from the company read. According to flight-tracking website Flightradar24, several Jet2 flights bound for Spain were turned around midair on Saturday, and returned to the UK.

Meanwhile, Irish budget airline Rynair contacted its customers on Saturday offering to waive flight-change fees for passengers who have upcoming flights in areas that are being affected by the coronavirus pandemic[5].

Airline easyJet announced via Twitter late on Saturday night that it would be flying a full schedule to Spain on March 15 and 16 “to help get people home,” but that it would have to cancel flights from March 17 onward. The airline recommended that customers head to its website for the latest information.


  1. ^ outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (english.elpais.com)
  2. ^ significant restrictions on movement (english.elpais.com)
  3. ^ implications of the state of alarm (english.elpais.com)
  4. ^ healthcare professionals (english.elpais.com)
  5. ^ coronavirus pandemic (english.elpais.com)
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