Following a recent uptick in coronavirus cases in some regions, the UK director of the Spanish Tourist Office, Javier Piñanes, has outlined the measures the country is taking to protect visitors.
The country is currently reporting around 5,000 Covid-19 cases each day, up from around 300 a day in June.
Based on data from August 17th, two out of three of all new infections over the previous 14-day period were concentrated in four main Spanish regions – Catalunya, Madrid, Aragón and the Basque Country.
The UK currently records around 1,000 positive tests each day.
In response to the increase, Piñanes said: “The evolution of the pandemic varies dramatically from region to region, but the local and regional authorities are taking swift and forceful measures to deal with localised outbreaks.
“There is full coordination between the national and regional governments in Spain to control and monitor the pandemic.
“On a national level, last Friday (August 14th) Spain announced the closure of nightclubs, as well as further guidelines for restaurants and bars regarding opening hours and social distancing.
“Additionally, various Spanish regions have demonstrated extra measures.
“Some regions for example have committed to paying for the visitor’s prolonged stay if they are forced to undertake a quarantine in Spain (such as in the Canary Islands and the region of Valencia), while others have established ‘bridging accommodation’ to isolate positive cases.”
In response to the increase in cases, UK authorities removed Spain from the quarantine ‘safe list’ last month – to this dismay of the travel sector.
Piñanes continued: “In terms of the outbreaks, according to our ministry of health, most of these have been detected from family gatherings, private parties, or in nightclubs with a large concentration of people; followed by outbreaks in a work setting.
“As such, these are settings which the visitor typically does not need to encounter.”
Piñanes also argued that, despite the infection rate, fatalities caused by the coronavirus in Spain are low: 54 in the last seven days (0.1 per 100,000 inhabitants), based on data published by the Spanish ministry of health on August 17th.
This rate is similar or lower than the numbers recorded in other main European markets, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
As an example, on August 17th, the UK reported 73 fatalities over the last seven days (0.1 per 100,000).
Piñanes added: “We believe Spain continues to be a safe tourism destination, as long as the recommended safety and hygiene measures set out by the authorities are respected and followed.
“We are certainly not in the same position as we were in March; not by number of cases; or by the pressures put on our health care system.
“Our tourism industry is thoroughly prepared to welcome tourism in a safe and hygienic way and our entire tourism industry has adapted its services to respond to the current situation.
“The decision of the United Kingdom (our main source market) and other countries to impose a quarantine on travellers from Spain has undermined tourist confidence.
“Our authorities continue to work with the UK government and other EU member states so that actions are taken based on public health criteria and the location of these outbreaks; focusing specifically on the most impacted areas.”