Spanish government and tourist authorities have stressed that British tourists would be safer in their favourite holiday destinations in Spain – including Murcia – than back home in the UK.
In a TV interview following the UK government’s decision to impose a 14-day quarantine on tourists returning from Spain, prime minister Pedro Sánchez said he believed the decision was a “mistake”, not only to impose the quarantine but also to issue official recommendations to potential travellers warning against visiting Spain.
Calling on the UK to reconsider its stance, Sánchez said the quarantine measure was “unjust” from an epidemiological point of view, as “many regions in Spain now have rates of accumulated contagion incidences that are lower than even the European average”.
He stressed it was “safer” to visit the most popular regions favoured by British tourists – among them Murcia and the Costa Cálida – than to areas in their own country.
Expressing the view that Spain was not in the throes of a second wave of the pandemic, the prime minister nevertheless called on people to show “individual responsibility” in limiting its spread. He argued that 64.5 per cent of the new cases were focused in two regions, Cataluña and Aragón, adding that 34 per cent of the “clusters” were associated with family meetings and social gatherings. It was in these specific areas, he said, where health authorities were “maximising” precautionary measures.
Echoing the prime minister’s comments, foreign minister Arancha González Laya said, “Spain is a safe country. Like any other country around the world that has managed to control COVID-19, Spain is working to isolate cases as soon as they appear, trace the contacts, and make sure we treat them and separate them so that the rest of the country can get on with their lives and the economy can continue, and that tourists can continue to enjoy Spain.”
She said the Spanish government would continue to work with other European governments to “reassure them and to send a message of confidence”. The three largest outbreaks, said González Laya, in Barcelona, Zaragoza and Lleida, were under control, and their regional governments were following early-detection protocols agreed with the national government in Madrid.
EasyJet Waives Change Fees
Key representatives in the airline industry, including British Airways, have also heavily criticised the quarantine decision. EasyJet, which operates regular flights between Corvera Murcia Airport and London Gatwick and Bristol, told SimpleFlying it was disappointed the UK government had imposed a quarantine requirement for the whole of Spain as the increased occurrence of coronavirus was regional rather than nationwide.
“We plan to operate our full schedule in the coming days. Customers who no longer wish to travel can transfer their flights without a change fee or receive a voucher for the value of the booking. Should any flights be cancelled for later in August customers will be notified and informed of their options, which includes transferring to an alternative flight free of charge, receiving a voucher or applying for a refund via a webform on our dedicated Covid Help Hub at EasyJet.com.”
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