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British Government confirm they are reviewing Canary Islands epidemiological data

British Government confirm they are reviewing Canary Islands epidemiological data
The BBC have reported this Monday that The British Government is discussing with the Spanish the possibilities for “air corridors” between the UK and the Canary Islands, although first they want to review the epidemiological data well and will not make an immediate decision.

In a radio interview with BBC Radio Four’s The World At One, ex-minister now travel broadcaster, Michael Portillo, himself of Spanish descent, expressed his consternation at the lack of thought behind the British decision to place a blanket quarantine requirement on the whole of Spain.  He pointed out how ludicrous it was when the resurgence of coronavirus is in mainland Spain, and mainly focused around Catalonia and Aragon, that all of Spain, including its islands, has fallen under quarantine rules.

“Just to point out, the Canaries are twice as far from Barcelona as Barcelona is from London.”

“So with a Government that says that it likes to act in accordance with the science and scientific advice, there can be no scientific advice whatsoever that links Catalonia with the Canary Islands.

“Really the Government lumping all of Spain together, creating maximum confusion and economic damage, almost looks like a deliberate attempt to wreck the recovery, not only of this country, but of Europe.”

The UK also has more than double the infection rate per 100,000 people than currently exists on the islands.

A government source confirmed that both parties are in talks, after the British tourism sector has pressed for “regional air bridges” to be agreed with those areas of Spain least affected by the coronavirus , such as the case of the islands.

Although the UK tourism industry was eager for an early response this week, the source speaking to the BBC noted that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s executive “will not make a decision immediately.”

British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliot, also told Spanish press this morning that the quarantine requirements would stay in place for now, saying that “The Canary Islands are included for today” and that we would have to wait and see how long that situation was to continue.

Spain’s Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, while on an official trip to Turkey, said that she hoped by Tuesday the negotiations with the British authorities coupled with “the solidity of the data” will bear fruit “shortly” and offer a way, at least for the Balearics and Canary Islands, to return to no UK requirements for quarantine.

The United Kingdom government imposed a mandatory fourteen-day quarantine on Sunday for all travelers arriving from Spain, without having given any prior notice, despite the fact that their Foreign Ministry excluded the islands from advice against visiting mainland Spain, as they are not considered as being of high a risk of COVID-19 infection.

The British Secretary of State for Health, Helen Whateley, acknowledged on Monday that the incidence of the virus is lower in the Canary Islands than in mainland Spain, although she warned that “cases are increasing very rapidly” in “other places”

She justified London having acted “quickly and decisively” with respect to Spain, because the objective, she said, is to avoid a “second wave” of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, although those  British sectors most affected have criticised the utter lack of notice regarding the measure announced on Saturday night.

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