Spanish students on a school trip to Sicily have been left stranded after Spain temporarily banned all flights from Italy yesterday in a bid to contain the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The group of 71 teenagers and five teachers from the Institut Pallejà in Barcelona were scheduled to fly back home this Friday 13th March with Vuelling. However, the flight ban means they are potentially trapped in the Sicilian hotel ‘in confinement’ for another two weeks.
“Before we left, we evaluated the situation, and as there were no restrictions placed on travel to Italy, we continued with the scheduled trip,” explained one of the five teachers, Andreu Margarit. But shortly after the group arrived at their destination, the whole country was placed on lock down, and the group has been confined to the hotel for practically the whole duration of the trip. So far, none of the students are reported to be infected by COVID-19.
However, what was supposed to be a fun end-of-year trip, has turned out to be a nightmare for the 15-year-olds. “We’ve been confined to our rooms, have had to take turns to eat and have to maintain a distance of a metre between each other,” said Margarit. The school has been in communication with the consulate in Italy to try to find a solution to get the teenagers home as soon as possible, “but up until now we have heard nothing”, added Margarit.
However, if no solution is found, the students could face another 14 days in confinement. “We can’t imagine being confined in the hotel for another two weeks, until the 23rd March. The students are getting very anxious, and our main priority is to try to get them home as soon as possible,” said Margarit.
More than 10,000 people are now reported to be infected with COVID-19 in Italy, with the death toll from the virus reaching 630. The Italian government took fast drastic action, in the form of a lock down to contain the spreading virus earlier this week.