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Madrid fear coronavirus could be spread through new airport arrivals after EU borders declared open from June 21st 

Spain’s airports insist they are “ready and able” to deal with a new influx of international travellers despite fears that tourists from countries with a higher incidence of coronavirus will bring the disease back into holiday hotspots.

The airport authority, AENA says it will be
re-opening previously closed or partly open airports across the country in
phases after installing measures to deal with the threat of COVID-19, including
screens, self-distancing markings and thermal imaging to detect any high temperatures.

Some of the airports WON’T be ready should any
Brits want to travel, however, complicating Spain’s position over taking
tourists from the UK even more.

Yesterday, there was mass confusion about the
situation as holiday hotspots admitted the Spanish government’s decision to
open all EU borders from June 21st, ten days earlier than expected, took them
by surprise. Many did not think UK travel would be allowed yet but later,
Spain’s government confirmed the open rule did also apply to the UK, even though
it has technically left the EU but is in the transmission phase.

This morning, holiday resorts are still
talking about looking forward to accepting tourists from the “central
European countries” and there has been no specific mention of UK
holidaymakers.

And Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez
Laya added fuel to the fire when she told the BBC that Spain is considering
imposing a two-week quarantine on arrivals from the UK next week, despite
opening its doors with no restrictions for the rest of the EU. The minister
told the BBC’s HARDtalk programme: “We will be checking what the UK will
be doing and we will be in dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should
be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the
EU.”

Now, Madrid  is voicing fears that
“some” of the countries which will be allowed in have a higher
incidence of coronavirus than Spain and its airports, one of the busiest in the
world, could become a gateway to letting coronavirus back into Spain.

Councillor for the Presidency of the Community
of Madrid, Eugenia Carballedo said the regional government had voiced its fears
to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

“We need to have a control because we are
already receiving imported cases from countries that have a high pandemic peak.
They take the plane, they arrive in Madrid and we already know that it is a
tremendously contagious virus. The Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas airport is the
most important airport in this country and in Madrid we are happy to receive tourists
but we need proper controls.”

On Thursday, the Spanish government is to
reveal details of a comprehensive tourist plan which is likely to shed more
light on what arrangements are being made for international tourists.

But holiday hotspots, including the Canary
Islands and the Costa del Sol, are already calling for coronavirus checks. The
Canary Islands wants  holidaymakers to take one before they leave the UK
but accepts it might have to settle for Plan B which would involve testing on
arrival, as favoured by the Costa del Sol.

The airport authority AENA announced today
that the airports were getting ready for new arrivals, with terminal one at
Madrid due to open but only on July 1st. More parts of Barcelona airport will
open, together with extra space at Mallorca.

“The entire airport network has
implemented protocols for mobility and safe tourism,” said a spokesman.

Under the Spanish government’s new ruling, the
borders of countries in the EU and Schengen area will open on June 21st,
followed by “third countries” from July 1st. Spain’s 14-day
quarantine period will be dropped on June 21st, not July 1st as originally
announced, though the comments by Spain’s Foreign Minister have complicated
this further.