The Spanish government has announced further lockdown measures in a bid to slow the curve of the coronavirus pandemic which has already infected more than 85,000 people in the country and killed a further 7,340 at the time of writing. With many Britons still trapped in Spain awaiting flights home, how will they be impacted by the lockdown measures?
Though the Spanish government initially implemented a lockdown on March 14, it imposed stricter confinement measures on its residents over the weekend. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the halt of all “non-essential activities” from today.
This means those residing in Spain are only allowed to leave their home to buy food or other essential items, return home to their primary residence, go to the hospital or other health centres, go to work only if they are employed in one of the essential services designated by the government, and carry out acts for those in need.
However, with flights rapidly cancelling routes from Spain to the UK, many Britons are scrambling to get their hands on tickets back to the UK.
What do the new measures imposed mean for these stranded Britons, and will they still be able to get home?
The good news is that Britons are being aided in the journey home, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab today announcing new measures enforced by the government to rescue travellers.
What’s more, he pointed out a positive partnership between the UK and Spanish governments to repatriate those who are stranded.
Mr Raab said the government has brought home an estimated 150,000 UK nationals from Spain alone.
Further plans to work with commercial airlines, including British Airways, easyJet, Jet2, Virgin and Titan are in place to ensure passengers can get on flights back to the UK.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) website urges: “British travellers who are currently in Spain and who wish to return to the UK are advised to make travel plans to do so as soon as possible.”
Spain will continue to allow airports to remain open for repatriation purposes.
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What’s more, tourists will be allowed to travel to airports in order to get home.
The (FCO) website states: “Travel to airports by road or rail to leave Spain is still permitted, but travellers may be asked to provide evidence that they are departing Spain (i.e. plane ticket).”
However, it is important to note that transport services will be running at reduced levels.
Meanwhile, the FCO also warns: “If you’re currently in Spain, follow the advice of local authorities.”
Those wishing to leave via land borders, passing through France, are advised to make plans as soon as possible, but should also check the information released by French authorities.
Mr Raab also explained that the government will now be injecting £75 million into repatriation efforts in a bid to help commercial airlines continue to fly while keeping ticket costs as low as possible for travellers who wish to book onto flights.
Mr Raab explained: “Where commercial routes remain an option, airlines will be responsible for getting passengers home.
“That means offering alternative flights, at little to no cost where routes have been cancelled. And it means allowing passengers to change tickets, including between carriers.
“So for those still in countries where commercial options are still available, don’t wait. Don’t run the risk of getting stranded.”
Meanwhile, special charter flights will be advertised on the government website.
“Once special charter flights have been arranged we will promote them through the government’s travel advice and by the British Embassy or high commission in your country,” said Mr Raab.
“British travellers who want a seat on those flights will book and pay directly through a dedicated travel management company.”
He further emphasised that the government is doing “all it can”.
Britons currently stuck in Spain should check the FCO’s travel advice page for up-to-date information, as well as the High Commission and Spain’s UK embassy social media pages.
Alternatively, they can call the FCO’s 24-hour call centre for additional help.
Published at Mon, 30 Mar 2020 19:42:00 +0000