The Canary Islands safety proposal requires negative tests for tourists
Updated: 26.10.2020; 9.50pm
The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, and the Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castillo, have released the main details of the decree law tonight that their Government wants to approve this week (expected to in the Governing Council on Friday), saying that tourists must have tests at their point of origin before coming to the islands, even though they have seen different national and European bodies reject this proposal several times before.
Castilla underlined that the Government believes they have found a way to insist on testing in a “legal way”, and can become the first region to establish this type of control.
The regional Government recognizes that they cannot directly impose a test to travellers from the rest of Spain, or from another country, but can exercise their right of admission in regulated accommodation, which will now ask their clients for a PCR or negative antigen test done a maximum of 72 hours before their arrival to check in.
If a test is not presented they will not be allowed to check in or stay on the complex, and will not qualify for the Canary Island Covid insurance policy. At this stage details are still sketchy as to the full proposal, of which full details will be added as we receive them.
Torres and Castilla have stressed that with this proposal, the Canary Islands has no intention of risking everything they have achieved to try to get the islands out of the "zero tourism" in which it has been since mid-March, much less expose the health of its population due to outbreaks that hypothetically enter the islands through tourists from other places with a higher incidence, especially taking into account that the rest of Spain has a rate of 410 per 100,000; Germany, 130; and the United Kingdom, 384; France, 589; and the Netherlands, 615.
The Minister explained that the decree law refers to "tourists", whether they are Spanish or from other countries, because that is the area in which they can legislate in an ordinary way and within their autonomous powers, but President Torres has specified that the Government of the Canary Islands does not rule out seeking a formula for the rest of the travellers who arrive to the islands without having a hotel or an apartment as their destination.
The text of the decree law has been presented this evening to the President's Advisory Council, made up in a stable way by the two large employers' associations, CEOE, Canary Islands Confederation of Entrepreneurs, UGT and CCOO, and expanded for this occasion with representatives of the four tourist employers’ associations and the seven Cabildos of the archipelago.
With the unanimous support of this advisory body, the Government begins the processing of the decree law with the purpose of approving it this week. The regulation would come into force the day after its publication in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands, although then it must necessarily receive the endorsement of the regional Parliament.
However, the Canarian Government also wants to preserve the "right to information" of its tourists from any country, and will give a period of a few days, yet to be defined, but never more than 15, for this regulation to reach all of Europe through tour operators, hotel chains, travel agencies or embassies, so that everyone knows that they need a test in advance.
Castilla has specified that the decree will be open enough so that the certificates issued by health organizations or clinics from all the countries of origin of the tourists will be accepted, and so that, if technological progress provides new rapid diagnostic routes, it is not necessary reform its articles.
At this time, she said, the Canary Islands clearly bet on antigen tests, capable of detecting Covid infection with very high reliability in minutes and at a very low cost of 20-30 euros, compared to more than 100 that it costs for a PCR.
The Ministerhas also specified that the tests will be paid for by the traveller, whether they undergo the test in their country, or if they arrive at the reception of their hotel without it and from there they refer them to a health centre, clinic or laboratory in the Canary Islands to let them do it.