Canarian President Ángel Víctor Torres has once more insisted on PCR Covid-19 tests at source airports for all passengers who wish to visit the Canaries. This, he believes, would give tourism on the islands a “safety bonus”.

Speaking at the annual meeting of regional leaders with national President Pedro Sánchez, Torres said that PCR tests would permit “secure journeys and full planes.”

“We’re going to get out tourism back, and there’s a real demand for tourism,” said Torres, who claimed that the Canaries had added the “unexpected attraction “ of health safety to those of good food, landscapes and fine weather.

Torres pointed out that the Canaries had shown the world how well  they have tackled the Covid-19 outbreak since the first Spanish case was detected in La Gomera and a hotel in Tenerife was place under quarantine.

“All this will go down the drain if we can’t give maximum safety guarantees,” he concluded.

PCR tests usually involve analysis of a swap taken from the mouth or throat, and detect the presence of coronavirus antigens. The analysis can be carried out in less than three hours, but the tests are currently expensive – Vienna Airport is currently offering therm to passengers who wish to avoid quarantine for €190. 

Antibody tests, which are carried out on a blood sample, are faster and cheaper , but they do not diagnose Covid 19, but instead show that someone has been exposed to it. Newly-infected people may not test positive.

Canarian tourism councillor Yaiza Castillo has proposed that the regional health services in Spain take responsibility for tests on passengers leaving their region, and yesterday, Ángel Víctor Torres suggested that similar measures may be carried out at an international level.

Tourist Minister: “British figures have to improve”

Spain’s Tourism Minister, Reyes Maroto, said this weekend that the United Kingdom’s “figures still have to improve” before British tourists can return to Spain.

Her comments caused concern when they were sensationally reported as a “Brit ban” by various English-language media, but all Maroto said was “The figures have to improve there (the UK),” because “it’s important that people arrive in good health and return in good health.” Maroto pointed out that the British authorities themselves currently do not recommend foreign travel.

Maroto is attempting to establish “safe corridors” for the possible return of international tourism in late June. In her interview she suggested that Germany and the Scandinavian countries are the possible first candidates for tourism, as they are “in a good situation concerning the epidemic”.