MADRID - Spain is fighting to save its embattled tourism industry after the UK government imposed a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from the country.

Government officials insist the virus is under control and want certain areas to be exempt from the UK self-isolation order, including the Balearic Islands.

About 18 million Britons travelled to Spain in 2019 - about a quarter of all arrivals in the country.

But junior health minister Helen Whately has defended the quarantine.

Ms Whately told the BBC that after all the "sacrifices" made during the lockdown, the UK could not take the risk of going back to a situation of rising virus rates across the country.

Spain's rate of infection has jumped in recent days.

While the outbreak remains under control in many parts of Spain, certain parts of the country - in particular Catalonia in the north-east and the neighbouring region of Aragón - have seen a huge spike in infections.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the country recorded 39.4 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last two weeks.

The UK and neighbouring France both have a figure of 14.6 infections per 100,000 residents.

Local authorities have issued stay-at-home orders for some four million residents in Catalonia, including in the regional capital Barcelona. On Monday, Catalonia's President Quim Torra said they could impose even stricter lockdown measures if infection numbers do not improve in the next 10 days.(FA)