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Holidaymakers may be gearing up for some winter sun in the Canary Islands, thanks to the destinations place on the travel corridor list at present. Currently, Britons can visit the holiday hotspot without the need for quarantine on their return back to the UK.
However, it seems they will not be free from all restrictions when travelling.
Tourists visiting the Canary Islands for a Christmas or New Year break now face tighter coronavirus restrictions, including a new night-time curfew and a limit on the number of people who can socialise.
The Canary government says it has to get to grips with the spread of coronavirus, even though the statistics are still lower than the rest of Spain.
There is a particular concern in Tenerife, where tighter rules have been put in place.
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The holiday island of Tenerife has been put on an emergency 11pm to 6am curfew amid fears that coronavirus cases are spreading too quickly.
The Canary government says it will come into force on Saturday and last for one week.
In addition, for the next fortnight, social gatherings have been slashed to just four rather than six on the other islands.
Tenerife is the only Canary island still under the red traffic light system which indicates a high alert and this is expected to continue.
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Canary president, Ángel Víctor Torres said they didn’t like to take drastic measures, adding: “These rules are not made against anyone but for the health of people.”
“Three weeks ago we took measures specifically for the island that served to contain the curve of the pandemic. However, with the arrival of December the situation has worsened and has rebounded,” he said.
“I ask for one more sacrifice in a very tough year because we are risking that hospitals do not collapse, that infections do not increase and that we do not have to take much more drastic measures. We risk the present and the future.”
Throughout the rest of the Canaries, which include Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, there will be a new curfew of 1am to 6am from December 23 to January 10.
The islands had previously escaped the nationwide curfew imposed by the Spanish government and at the moment, they are still the only place in Spain where Britons can travel to without having to go into quarantine on their return.
On the nights of December 24 and 25 and on December 31 and January 1, the curfew hours start at 1.30am and last until 6am.
There will be exceptions, such as to travel to a chemist, to go to work or look after a vulnerable person.
The rules also state that the hotel and restaurant industry must close at midnight, or 11pm in Tenerife, with the maximum occupancy per table of six people and the distance between chairs of adjoining tables of at least two metres.
On all of the islands, the maximum number of people in social and family gatherings that take place in spaces for public and private use, closed or outdoors, will be limited to six people, except for those people who reside in the same address. However, up to ten people will be allowed to attend family meetings or with relatives to celebrate Christmas lunches and dinners on December 24, 25 and 31 and January 1 and 6.
In all cases, children up to the age of six are excluded in the figures.
Spokesman for the Executive, Julio Pérez warned: “The measures taken so far are not giving the desired results and we do not yet know the causes.”
Britons hoping to visit the Canary Islands must carry proof of a negative coronavirus PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
They must also show a further negative rapid rest result at their hotel or apartments reception before being admitted to their accommodation.
As of Thursday, figures for the Canaries show 214 new cases of COVID-19.
The total accumulated cases in the Canary Islands is more than 21,500 with 4,292 active, of which 39 are admitted to the ICU and 205 remain hospitalised.
The accumulated incidence at seven days in the Canary Islands stands at 44.58 and at 14 days at 84.33.
Gran Canaria now has 41 cases with a total of 9,526 accumulated cases and 1,085 epidemiologically active cases; Tenerife has 9,315 accumulated cases, 150 more than the previous day and 3,063 active.
Lanzarote adds 13 new cases with 1,421 accumulated and 62 epidemiologically active; Fuerteventura has 921 accumulated cases with nine more cases than the previous day and 59 active.
La Palma does not register new cases and has 216 accumulated and seven active cases; La Gomera adds a new case, standing at 116 accumulated and 15 active. For its part, El Hierro without new cases maintains it’s accumulated at 69 and one active.
To date, a total of 593,078 PCR tests have been carried out in the islands.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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