Benidorm shut down: Covid spread forces holiday resort to close borders – police on watch

Spain announce travel ban for UK flights amid coronavirus strain

Benidorm has been forced to shut its perimeter for three weekends due to a new surge in coronavirus cases. The popular holiday resort, which normally sees 42.7 percent of its tourist figures made up of Britons, is now under the watchful eye of police who are controlling its six access points.

Specific entry and exit points are being patrolled, with all other roads into and out of the region shuttered off with concrete bollards.

It comes following an order made by the Valencia regional government due to an increase in the spread of coronavirus.

The weekend measure also affects 14 other locations with more than 50,000 inhabitants.

These include València, Alicante, Elche, Castelló, Torrevieja, Torrent, Orihuela, Gandia, Paterna, Sagunt, Alcoi, Sant Vicent del Raspeig, Elda-Petrer and Vila-real.

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Valencia’s president Ximo Puig said the coronavirus restrictions had to be tightened up “to try to stop the tsunami into which the third wave of the coronavirus has become”.

“This decree is a warning of what cannot be done now and a call for joint responsibility after the worst week that the community has experienced since the start of the pandemic,” he said.

On the first weekend, Benidorm police reported no major problems except for isolated incidents and the need to remind people to wear their masks.

People can only enter and leave Benidorm for specific reasons including urgent medical appointments and care, certified work obligations, to return to their place of residence, to care for the vulnerable, exams at universities, actions before public bodies and demonstrable causes of force majeure.

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Councillor for security, Lorenzo Martínez said residents had given “maximum collaboration and co-operation”.

The weekend perimeter closures will run from 3pm on Friday to 6am though Benidorm council says it will ask for a starting time of 6pm on a Friday because of the amount of traffic which is generated from pupils being picked up from school and those returning home from work.

The next two closures are from Friday, February 5 to Monday, February 8 and then from Friday, February 12 to Monday, February 15.

Mayor Toni Pérez said: “We must all contribute to stopping this situation because together we can overcome this circumstance.”

He added: “There is nothing more worthwhile than protecting our health, our environment and that of the people we do not know.”

According to Worldometers, there have been 38,118 new cases of coronavirus in Spain.

There have also been 513 new fatalities as of January 29.

In the UK, there have been 18,607 new cases as of February 1.

Worldometeres reports 406 new fatalities during the same time period.

Under current lockdown restrictions, Britons can not travel to Spain, or any other destination, for leisure purposes.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is currently advising against all “non-essential” travel to the usually popular tourist hotspot.

Furthermore, Spain has set out specific entry requirements for those who need to travel to the country.

Britons are currently banned from entering, with the exception of “Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain.”

Those who need to travel for “essential” purposes must self-isolate upon their arrival back in the UK.

Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.

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