No agreement with Madrid to accept antigen tests within 48hrs of new regulation
The Canary Islands tourism sector experienced a difficult day yesterday... another one. With tour operators and airlines informing of the cancellation of reservations due to the new resolution starting on Monday, that obliges all international travellers who enter Spain and come from risk areas to submit a PCR test result, all hopes were placed on the technical meeting that the Ministry of Health that was holding in Madrid.
The meeting addressed the recommendation of the European Commission this week for use of antigen tests, and the possibility that the Canary Islands be allowed to use them so as not to stop tourism, that could begin to rise from December, according to sources close to it. However, the meeting finally concluded without resolution despite the warnings made by the Canarian administrations that, with only PCRs, tourism is not going to increase.
The lack of modification of the state regulation with regard to antigen tests means that in the airports of the Canary Islands, like those of the rest of the State, only PCRs will be valid as of Monday. "I am very concerned because today has been a day of massive cancellations," said the Minister of Tourism, Yaiza Castilla.
She also warned that the Government of the Canary Islands "will not sit idly by" and will act to save its tourism sector. As she indicated, “if the antigens are not admitted, the islands will once again have another situation of zero tourism. Although there is a plan 'B' and a plan 'C'," Castilla said.
The President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, who trusted that the State would give the go-ahead to the antigens, held a telephone conversation yesterday afternoon with the Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, to whom he expressed the damage he will inflict on the islands and their tourism sector by not validating antigen tests and authorizing only PCRs. Torres is considering taking measures throughout this weekend to ensure that the Canaries are authorized to test antigens as a rapid detection test for Covid.
Yesterday morning he had been confident of getting it passed. "The wish is that we can have a solution so that, as of November 23rd the Canary Islands will accept either a PCR test or an antigen test,” he said.
Torres added "I have spoken with Salvador Illa on several occasions, yesterday, and I will do it again today, and if I need to, tomorrow; and I know that the Ministry is studying the matter,” he said. Although "we are going to finish closing the negotiations, because, clearly, each administration has its powers," he pointed out.