By Tony Winterburn • 18 August 2020 • 8:37
Spain's Costa del Sol looks towards Iceland's approach to testing for COVID to save its tourism industry. image: Wikipedia
A €55 coronavirus test at airports would end quarantine and encourage people to go on holiday abroad, travel experts say – raising hopes for the thousands of businesses on Spain’s Costa del Sol.
THE tourism and leisure industry on Spain’s Costa del Sol has taken a serious battering over the last few months. With the quarantine measures introduced by the UK and the recent ban on smoking (without distancing in the street) and the closing of thousands of nightclubs and bars the sector is now at breaking point.
Families holidaying at hotspots that are not on the UK’s safe travel corridor list – including France, Spain and Portugal – must quarantine for two weeks when they get back, to help curb the spread of Covid-19. This new, simple and cheap test could end all that – opening up a gateway back into full-blown tourism, allowing foreign holidays again – something Spain desperately needs right now.
Travel expert Paul Charles of the PC Agency is urging the government to adopt Iceland’s airport testing scheme, subsidising the cost so passengers pay only €55.
Visitors to Iceland can book a swab test on arrival instead of going into quarantine and wasting the 14 days required for isolation. They would only need to self-isolate for five days before taking a second test, which is free this time, at a medical centre. If both tests are negative, they can then carry on as normal. In total, the quarantine could be less than seven days.
Paul said: “We have to bring this system to the UK as soon as possible.
“We cannot go on with this 14-day system, which is unworkable and causing anxiety among consumers who are losing money. Adopting the Iceland system here would be a game-changer. It is far better than the damage being done to the economy by quarantine measures.”
The proposed system has been welcomed by businesses on the Costa del Sol, other regions are looking into it as a way of attracting the millions of holidaymakers back to Spanish shores before the industry collapses.
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