Spain: Canary Islands could share costs of coronavirus tests for tourists to save holidays

The Canary Islands which include Tenerife, Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, are popular winter holiday spots for Britons. The islands, which are located off the coast of north-western Africa, usually remain warm during the Autumn and Winter months. Currently, the islands are on the UK’s quarantine list after Spain recorded a spike in coronavirus cases.

Now, the Canary Islands are trying to negotiate with travel operators to jointly finance coronavirus tests in a bid to get quarantine rules lifted.

Tourism leaders have said they are reportedly “fed up” waiting for the Spanish government to take charge and will go it alone so that the winter season – which starts in October – can be saved.

The Canary Islands government has confirmed it is looking at a number of testing options, including those which give results in a short amount of time.

Ministers say they are prepared to pay for the tests, as are individual councils throughout the islands.

This joint initiative with tour operators has been put in place across other countries.

Canary Islands’ Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Yaiza Castilla said the islands were in the unique position to be “the only winter sun destination with capacity and with reliable sanitary standards for Europeans.”

The islands are desperate to win back the British and German markets which are now both subject to quarantine restrictions.

Ms Castilla said the number one priority was to reduce the number of coronavirus outbreaks and infections across all of the Canary Islands.

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The next aim would be to establish safe travel corridors so that the 2020-2021 holiday seasons could be saved.

She said: “There is an urgent need to reverse the situation of the incidence of the pandemic between now and October to guarantee that the issuing countries lift their warnings on trips to the islands and the quarantine requirements upon return and to take advantage of the historic opportunity presented to the Canary Islands to be the only winter sun destination with capacity and with reliable sanitary standards for Europeans.”

Spain has recorded 517,133 cases of coronavirus and 29,418 deaths.

On September 4, the country recorded 4,503 new cases and 184 new deaths in Spain.

As of Saturday, the Canary Islands reached an accumulated 8,699 cases of coronavirus after adding another 365 cases in 24 hours.

Of the recorded cases, 269 were in Gran Canaria.

El Hierro, Gran Canaria and Lanzarote have all tightened their coronavirus safety regulations because of the coronavirus outbreaks.

There have been 179 deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic.

The islands have carried out 271,202 tests.

Belgium has also recently recommended citizens not to travel to the Canaries but has made Tenerife an exception, a decision which has encouraged island leaders who hope others will follow its example.

England’s travel corridor list is set to be reviewed again this week.

Last week, no changes were made to England’s green list but Wales and Scotland both decided to add Portugal to their quarantine list.

Scotland also added Greece, while Wales added six Greek islands which are Crete, Mykonos, Zakynthos, Lesvos, Paros and Antiparos.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot

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