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Coronavirus In Lanzarote - Latest News

Tuesday October 13, 2020

Coronavirus In Lanzarote - Latest News

The national government in Spain has agreed to allow the Canaries and Balearics to implement protocols which may ultimately facilitate the creation of travel corridors to the islands from other European destinations.

However, the Tourist Federation of Lanzarote feels these measures are insufficient and fall short of their suggested plan to test all arrivals, not just international tourists.

New Protocols

Tourists visiting the islands from European countries where the Covid infection rate is below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants will be able to travel without taking any test for the virus. Whilst tourists travelling to the islands from countries with an infection rate above 50 per 100,000 inhabitants will be required to take a Covid test 48 hours before departure and present a negative test result on arrival.

All tourists visiting the islands will then be provided with a free Covid test 48 hours before they are due to depart.

Anybody testing positive will then be required to enter quarantine on the islands with all accommodation, healthcare and attendant costs covered free of charge by the authorities.

According to Reyes Marato, Spain’s Travel and Tourism Minister, “The protocols are a useful measure to reach agreements with our European partners to allow us to recover mobility and reactivate the flow of tourists with safe conditions. These protocols are the first and we hope to be able to extend them to other popular tourism destinations within Spain’s mainland.”

A date for implementation remains to be confirmed.

Insufficient Measures?

These new measures have been heavily criticised as insufficient by the Tourist Federation of Lanzarote who have highlighted the fact that these protocols only cover international tourists. Without making any provision for testing visitors from mainland Spain, where Covid 19 infection rates have been significantly higher than in the Canaries or Balearics.

As a result, many believe that the new measures leave a gaping loophole and will not go far enough to convince key markets such as the UK that the islands are a safe destination. So ultimately hindering the creation of travel corridors and the revival of tourism.

UK – Quarantines, Testing and Corridors

Current travel guidance for UK tourists to Lanzarote remains in place, advising against all non-essential travel to Spain and its islands. With a 14-day self-isolation quarantine period in place for anyone arriving in the UK from these destinations.

The announcement on October 10th that travellers returning from the Greek Islands of Santorini, Zante, Lesbos, Tinos and Serifos would no longer need to self-isolate on return to the UK has raised hopes that a precedent has been set and that the British Government may now start taking a more nuanced and regionalised approach towards travel to and from Spain and in particular the Canaries and Balaerics.

In the last week, the British Government has created the Global Travel Taskforce headed by Grant Shapps to ascertain whether the UK may be able to modify its current stance on 14-day quarantines.

The Taskforce is currently Investigating alternative options such as testing on arrival in the UK (with the cost borne by tourists rather than the NHS) and shorter self-isolation periods. Reflecting the growing scientific evidence that Covid symptoms tend to manifest within 7 days rather than 14 in most cases – so potentially reducing the current 14-day quarantine stipulation, a move which has already been implemented in some other countries.

Grant Shapps stated, “Our understanding of the science now means we can intensify efforts to develop options for a testing regime and help re-invigorate our world leading travel sector. This new taskforce will not only help us move towards safer, smoother international travel but will also support global connectivity – helping facilitate more Covid-secure travel whilst protecting the population from imported cases.”

The Global Travel Taskforce is not expected to report back to Number 10 until November.

Other Key Markets

German tour operator TUI restarted flights from Germany to the Canaries on October 3rd, followed closely by TUI Belgium.

The airline plans to selectively test passengers in accor

dance with the infection rate in the areas they are travelling from, a development which was described as “Very good news” by Canary Islands president Angel Victor Torres. Island tourist authorities hope that this development will provide a springboard for encouraging the German government to add the Canary Islands to their safe travel corridors list.

Tourist Arrivals On Lanzarote

Tourists of all nationalities are still visiting Lanzarote – albeit in much reduced numbers.

Arrival figures for August reveal that a total of 62,673 tourists visited Lanzarote, down by 77% from 235,234 in 2019.

Foreign tourist arrivals were down by 81% to 36,883 passengers – and arrivals from Spain decreased by 17.5% to 25,790 passengers.

British tourism was down 90% in August – with just 11,172 arrivals.

Current Infection Rate on Lanzarote

There are currently 66 active cases on Lanzarote, versus a population of 152,000 people. You can access the latest stats by visiting the website.

Current Protocols on Lanzarote

Mask wearing remains mandatory in all public spaces where a distance of 2 metres cannot be safely maintained. Masks are not required when sunbathing at the beach or by a pool or when swimming!

Most of the main tourist attractions and many restaurants remain open for business.

Smoking in public has just been banned.

Who Is Still Flying From The UK?

From the UK both Ryanair and easyJet continue to operate regular flights to the island. However, jet2 has postponed resumption of services until at least November 1st, whilst cancelling all services to mainland Spain until February 2021.

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