In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Spanish government announced its decision to ban flights from the UK.
Flights will be suspended from Tuesday, December 22nd. Only Spanish citizens and those resident in Spain will be allowed to enter the country.
Those coming back to Spain after Christmas may be required to show proof of residency to the airline.
“Spain’s decision has been taken in conjunction with Portugal and will also result in the reinforcing of controls on the border with Gibraltar,” the statement added.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, will immediately inform the British government and the European Commission of the decision.
“After the meeting of the European Union, which today analysed the effects of the new strain of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom, and asked that non-essential travel be avoided, the Government has decided to suspend flights from tomorrow for citizens from the United Kingdom, except for Spanish nationals and residents in Spain “, Spanish government sources have said.
It's not yet clear how Spanish nationals and those resident in Spain will be allowed to return from the UK.
Several other European countries such as Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands have already adopted this measure unilaterally after the announcement about the new strain was made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Earlier PM Pedro Sánchez asked the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to give “a coordinated community response” to prevent flights from the United Kingdom.
But Spain said it would take its own action if the EU failed to come to a coordinated decision.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday the variant could be up to 70 percent more infectious than the main strain, based on preliminary data, but scientists have remained cautious over making conclusions.
There is no evidence to suggest the new strain is more dangerous to health.
Read more: Which countries have imposed travel bans on UK?
More to follow…