THE LOCKDOWN INTRODUCED BY THE SPANISH GOVERNMENT BOUGHT ON BY THE CORONAVIRUS SPARKS A MAD RUSH TO FLEE THE COUNTRY BY EXPATS FROM GIBRALTAR TO BENIDORM.
Last year 18 million UK tourists visited Spain, and there are likely to be hundreds of thousands still stranded here as the major airlines cancel flights as government restrictions on air travel comes into force.
On the Costa del Sol, home to 50,000 British ex-pats, police in face masks and latex gloves patrolled beaches with megaphones, warning of prison time and on-the-spot fines of up to £25,000 for anyone caught breaching the lockdown
Nearly 1,000 Spanish soldiers undertook reconnaissance missions in the country’s main cities as floods of holidaymakers scrambled to leave the country. Troops will also help carry out mass-disinfection across the country in an attempt to halt the spread of deadly coronavirus.
Hotels continued to clear out ahead of closures caused by the coronavirus crisis as holidaymakers rushed to return home. Airport scenes were described as chaotic with troops stationed to help maintain calm.
Spanish airports operator Aena broadcast megaphone messages urging travellers to maintain a safe distance from each other, but workers reported chaos at major transport hubs like Malaga Airport.
Helicopters and drones were also used to ensure locals and tourists confined themselves to their homes and hotels to stem the spread of coronavirus.
In Benidorm, worried town hall officials even used emergency loudspeakers mounted on cars to demand holidaymakers stay off the streets. Speaking on behalf of Benidorm Town Hall a spokesperson said today most tourists would be out of the resort by Thursday.
He said: “There were a lot of holidaymakers in Benidorm. Many of them had come here for St Patrick’s Day.
“There were more than 30,000 and many still remain but the hotels are emptying very quickly.”
He also praised Jet2 for their quick response and said the amount of cancellations coming through to hotels and holiday apartment complexes is “crazy”.