Canary Islands finds legal loophole to BAN tourists without negative Covid test result
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The measures, which are set to be introduced within days, aim to prevent outbreaks of coronavirus on the islands ahead of the winter sun season. The Canaries are popular among Britons seeking a break from the winter and many resorts are geared towards UK arrivals, serving British food and drinks in bars and restaurants.
Many retirees from the UK also make the annual trip to their holiday homes to spend the coldest months abroad.
The Government of the islands, off the coast of west Africa, is set to approve a new law this week will request negative tests.
President Angel Victor Torres and Tourism Councillor Yaiza Castilla released an outline of the changes set to kick in.
Ms Castilla said the Canaries will be the first Spanish region to bring in the rule after the Government discovered a legal loophole.
She admitted the Government does not have the power to order each and every arrival to take a COVID-19 test.
But the new legislation will mean anyone booking into accommodation will have to provide a negative test certificate.
This will apply to both domestic and national travellers.
The test must be taken 72 hours, or less, before the person arrives.
The pair stressed the islands do not want to risk everything they have achieved in slowing the spread of COVID-19 just to try to get their tourism industry up and running again.
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The President said his Government would not rule out imposing similar rules on people who are not staying at a hotel or apartment.
However, the Canarian Government also wants to preserve the “right to information” of tourists, so it will give a period of a few days, yet to be defined, but never more than 15, for the new law to be implemented.
It said tour operators, travel agencies and embassies would be told about the new rule in advance in order to give people time to prepare.
The announcement comes after the UK removed the Canary Islands from its quarantine list.
This means travellers returning to the UK from the picturesque destination will no longer be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
Germany also lifted quarantine rules for arrivals from the Canaries, opening the door for an influx of German tourists.
The Canaries have the lowest infection rate in the whole of Spain, with 77.41 cases per 100,000 people.
Spain is among Europe’s most hard-hit countries and its economy has suffered heavily since the start of the pandemic.
The country’s total number of coronavirus cases rose by more than 50,000 over the weekend to reach 1,098,320 as of Monday.
Spain’s Covid-19 death toll stands at 35,031.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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