Holidaymakers hit out at ‘crazy’ Canary Islands quarantine decision

UK holidaymakers on the Canary Islands have hit out at new quarantine rules which have disrupted their Christmas plans.

People arriving in the UK from the popular Spanish islands from 4am on Saturday must self-isolate for 14 days.

Tour operator Tui said it has around 5,000 UK holidaymakers on the islands, with a further 800 booked to fly out on Friday morning.

The Canary Islands were removed from the UK's travel corridors list on Thursday due to a rise in the positivity rate for coronavirus tests.

Most people returning to the UK from destinations not on the list must self-isolate for 14 days.

This quarantine period can be shortened for people arriving in England from December 15 if they pay to take a coronavirus test at least five days after they land, and receive a negative result.

Steve Hay, from Bournemouth, arrived on Lanzarote on Thursday for a seven-day break with his family, costing more than £2,000.

He told the PA news agency they were "looking at options" because self-isolating for 14 days on their return would taken them up to December 31, and mean they could not socialise with people outside their household over Christmas.

He added: "I think it's shocking and doesn't appear much thought has gone into it.

Coronavirus graphic
Coronavirus graphic

"Why is it being implemented so quick? This only gives us tomorrow (Friday) to get back.

"I think it's crazy and the Canaries cannot be looked at as a whole, each island should be rated."

The removal of the popular winter sun destination from the travel corridors list is a major below to the UK travel industry, which has been badly hit by the pandemic.

Tui is offering customers due to be on the islands between Friday and December 17 the chance to change their dates or choose another destination.

It will continue to operate flights unless the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) toughens its travel advice in relation to the islands.

Tui have been lobbying the Government alongside travel and airline associations to change its travel advice policy.

Currently, the Foreign Office (FCDO) advises against non-essential travel to the vast majority of countries, meaning many potential trips cannot take place.

Tui managing director Andrew Flintham expressed concern that the FCDO is effectively banning entry into countries "without detailing what the risk is to travellers".