Coronavirus: Irish tourists have until Thursday to get out of Spain

Coronavirus: Irish tourists have until Thursday to get out of Spain
People wearing masks drag their suitcases along La Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, March 15, 2020.

Irish tourists in Spain have been advised to come home before Thursday at midnight.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said the Government has reached a deal with airlines to facilitate the passengers.

Mr Coveney has held talks with his Spanish counterpart as well as the chief executives of Ryanair and Aer Lingus.

The two airlines are now waiving booking and seat fees for anyone who wants to change flights, and they are allocating bigger planes to impacted routes.

It comes amid a partial lockdown in Spain over coronavirus, as cases continue to rise.

The number of deaths in Spain from the coronavirus has more than doubled in a day, to 288, with the number of infections near 8,000.

Mr Coveney said he has been assured that Spanish airports will remain open and that the country would not be introducing a flight ban.

“My Spanish foreign affairs and transport counterparts have assured me that Spanish airports remain open and the country is not bringing about a flight ban,” he said.

“They further assure me that Spanish airspace remains open for Irish airlines to bring citizens home.

“I reaffirmed Ireland’s solidarity with Spain at this difficult time and thanked their frontline authorities for dealing with this unprecedented challenge”

The Department of Foreign Affairs is continuing to advise any Irish citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Spain.

Mr Coveney said the island of Ireland is confronted with a challenge that many could not have imagined when it comes to fighting Covid-19.

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