All Jet2 flights from the UK to Spain have been cancelled, as the number of coronavirus cases in the southwestern European country rises by 1,500 in 24 hours.
Planes were forced to turn back in mid-air this morning as all Jet2 flights from Britain to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands were cancelled ‘with immediate effect’.
The move came just over an hour before Spanish health officials announced the infected toll had risen to more than 5,700.
A statement from Jet2 said: ‘In response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops, and activities including any water sports, we have taken the decision to cancel all flights to mainland Spain, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with immediate effect.
‘We know these local measures will have a significantimpact on our customers’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision.
‘We are contacting our customers who are currently in thesedestinations, and who are due to travel, to advise them of their options, so weurge customers not to call us.
‘This is a fast-moving and complex situation and we arereviewing our programme as a matter of urgency, so that we can fly customersback to the UK.
‘The health and safety of our customers is our number one priority, and we would like to thank our customers for their understanding.’
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has declared a 15-day state of emergency will come into effect on Saturday, with 60,000 people in four towns already on a mandatory lockdown.
The first of three stages of emergency – a ‘state of alert’ – will mobilise the military and give the government wide-ranging powers, including the ability to confine people and order evacuations.
Europe is now the ‘centre of the coronavirus pandemic’, with Italy the worst-hit country, seeing more than 17,500 cases.
The Foreign Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel to Italy.
Officials advise against all but essential travel to the Spanish regions of Madrid and La Rioja, and the municipalities of La Bastida and Vitoria (both in the Basque Country) and Miranda de Ebro (in Castilla y León).
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