Desperate Spain offers Brits free coronavirus tests on way home in last ditch bid to keep holidaymakers coming

DESPERATE Spanish hotel bosses are offering Brits free Covid-19 tests when their holidays end in a bid to stop them cancelling their stays in the sun.

The surprise offer was made by the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Accommodation (CEHAT) hours after it was announced those returning to the UK from Spain would have to self-isolate for 14 days.


The move has left Mediterranean hotspot , which normally receives around 18 million British holidaymakers every year, in a state of shock.

The Spanish government had been hopeful of getting at least the Balearic Island and Canary Islands exempted from the quarantine measure through the establishment of ‘safe’ air corridors to and from the UK.

But those hopes were dashed late Monday when the Foreign Office hardened its stance by advising against all but essential travel to the islands as well as the Spanish mainland. 

CEHAT said in a statement: “Measures have to be taken urgently at European level and tests carried out in visitors’ home countries and abroad, so reciprocity exists and tourists and workers and residents in holiday areas are guaranteed maximum security."

However, the organisation added it is now offering to carry out tests on tourists when they leave their holiday accommodation so they "can offer clients maximum security."


However, the checks would not be effective on those with asymptomatic infections – when their bodies show no signs of coronavirus – or thoseinfected but yet to show any signs.

Scientific studies have shown up to 45 per cent of people struck down with the killer virus show no symptoms.

Saying it was “surprised” and disappointed at the UK quarantine decision, the organisation added: “There is now the risk that other governments adopt similar ill-thought-out measures which don’t take into account the reality that exists in Spain, especially in mainland holiday areas and the Balearic and Canary Islands.”

CEHAT president Jorge Marichal added: “Decisions have to be adopted on the basis of objective criteria.

“We have to hold people accountable for ill-considered measures that can have serious consequences for tourism including hoteliers who are following the strictest protocols in Europe.”

Spain's new travel rules

FOREIGN OFFICE ADVICE:

  • Don't travel to mainland Spain unless essential
  • Brits are now (as of 27 July) being advised against all but essential travel to the islands too

14 DAY QUARANTINE

  • Everyone coming back from Spain OR the Spanish islands must quarantine for 14 days at home
  • They must self isolate and give an address of where they are staying, or they face a £1000 fine

WHY HAS IT CHANGED?

This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).

SHOULD I GO HOME?

  • The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time.
  • Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus.
  • You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.

Spanish government vice-president Carmen Calvo admitted she had been “surprised” by the UK government quarantine decision.

She insisted: “We have moved away from the most difficult moments when our health system was facing overload.

“We’ve put behind us the most painful peak, but we’ve always said we were in a situation of pandemia and we will continue to be so and there’s bound to be new outbreaks.

“In terms of statistics Spain is far from being in a worse condition than other European countries.”

Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez said late on Monday he thought the British government had got it wrong with its surprise quarantine order and advice against travelling to any part of Spain.

But he described the two nations as “friends” and insisted talks would continue between them as part of his country’s efforts to persuade the UK to change its mind. 

Speaking moments after the Foreign Office hardened its stance and advised against non-essential travel to the whole of Spain, Mr Sanchez toldTV station Telecinco : “I think the UK’s decision is an incorrect one.

“Spain is made up of a number of regions that have a cumulative rate of contagion that is lower than the European average as well as the UK average."

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