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Tenerife is to close its borders for 15 days from midnight on Friday in a shock new move to fight rising cases of coronavirus. Spain holidays to the island will no longer be allowed. How it will impact those with flight and getaways booked is not yet clear.
The news was announced this evening by the president of the Canary government, Angel Victor Torres and details are still emerging.
There will be exceptions to the rule but having a holiday will not be one of them.
Torres said tonight that the Tenerife has had to take exceptional measures to stop the advance of COVID-19.
Tenerife has been on red traffic light alert for the last fortnight.
Covid cases have gone from well below the national average to among the highest in Spain.
The decision was taken at an extraordinary council meeting today and will last until the end of December at least, therefore covering Christmas and the New Year.
It is hoped holidaymakers with trips booked will have some more clarity in the coming days.
The Canaries are still reeling from another shock today.
The Canary Islands government has clashed with the mainland over the types of covid tests allowed for entry to the archipelago.
Island leaders previously said in their travel advice they would accept travellers with negative rapid antigen tests. These are considerably cheaper than PCR tests and are “easier to obtain”.
However, the Spanish government is now set to over-rule the controversial decision to allow international travellers entry to the islands on the back of rapid coronavirus tests.
Spanish newspapers are reporting Madrid won’t allow the Canaries to make this decision and says only full PCR tests are acceptable, not rapid ones.
Life within Tenerife is also set to change with the tightening measures.
Tenerife’s existing curfew from 11pm to 6am is being changed to 10pm to 6am.
Christmas lunches and dinners are reduced to six people, with a maximum of two cohabiting units on December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1.
Activity inside bars and restaurants is suspended and apacity on terraces has been cut to 50 percent.
Furthermore, the capacity per floor in shopping centres is reduced to 33 percent, the exit of residents in centres for the elderly is suspended and anyone on the island is advised to avoid travel between municipalities.
Big events such as markets, fairs or festivals, are all suspended.
Torres has indicated that the Government is very concerned about the data from Tenerife, especially as the next fifteen days would have seen one of the highest levels of internal mobility.
In September there were 90 cases a day, in October it went to 125 cases, in November it increased to 180 cases while in December the daily average has reached 256 cases for three days, he said.
It is understood there will be some exception to entering or leaving Tenerife over the 15 day period, including for health reasons, education, work, going back home, urgent judicial action, taking an official exam which can’t be changed, a totally unavoidable event or to look after a dependent.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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