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Editor's Viewpoint

Going abroad during Covid-19 crisis is full of pitfalls

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'Hardly a day passes without a new twist in the coronavirus story, and the sudden implementation of a fortnight's quarantine requirement for travellers returning to the United Kingdom from Spain is creating chaos.' (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

'Hardly a day passes without a new twist in the coronavirus story, and the sudden implementation of a fortnight's quarantine requirement for travellers returning to the United Kingdom from Spain is creating chaos.' (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

'Hardly a day passes without a new twist in the coronavirus story, and the sudden implementation of a fortnight's quarantine requirement for travellers returning to the United Kingdom from Spain is creating chaos.' (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Hardly a day passes without a new twist in the coronavirus story, and the sudden implementation of a fortnight's quarantine requirement for travellers returning to the United Kingdom from Spain is creating chaos.

Holiday-makers who were already in Spain have been shocked by the sudden imposition of the quarantine requirement at midnight on Saturday, and those who had already booked for Spain have been left in a quandary.

Many of those returning will now be worrying about how they can cope with their jobs and professional requirements when they are in quarantine, and those who had been planning to go to Spain will also be worrying about their insurance and refunds if they decide to cancel their trip.

The whole travel question has been one of the disturbing conundrums of the pandemic outbreak.

Last week there were worries here about how the Irish Republic's so-called Green List would relate to the much larger list applying in Great Britain and Northern Ireland and affecting people on this side of the border.

Now events have moved on and it is clear that strict rules on travel to and from Spain will apply to people from both jurisdictions. All those contemplating travel outside this island must be asking themselves "What next?"

The British Government is receiving widespread condemnation, not without reason, for the way in which it announced the latest quarantine measures so abruptly, but the spike in infections in Spain has shown how fast-moving the pandemic crisis is moving and changing things not only here but across Europe.

The latest developments also underline why the authorities here and elsewhere have said that people should travel only if they feel that it essential to do so, but each person's concept of what seems "essential" to them can only add to the confusion.

It is understandable that after the long lockdown, many people long for a holiday in the sun, but the realities have changed and anyone contemplating going abroad must be prepared to encounter sudden developments which could seriously and adversely affect their travel plans.

The perils of foreign travel in the current pandemic crisis are considerable, and the latest developments show just how things can go badly wrong with hardly a moment's warning.

"Stay at home if possible" is still sound advice.

Belfast Telegraph