At least 50 Britons from a coronavirus-hit hotel in Tenerife were free to head home yesterday – despite concerns over the efficiency of their quarantine.
But after getting the go-ahead, many found themselves stranded when airlines refused to fly them home.
Jet2 announced that it would not fly any passengers to Britain unless they tested negative for the illness or the two-week incubation period had passed.
Comfort: A masked girl holds her doll outside the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, yesterday. It was put on lockdown after four Italians tested positive for coronavirus. While at least 50 Britons were free to head home, airlines have refused to fly them back to the UK
Last night tour operator TUI also confirmed it would not be jetting the holidaymakers home.
A Foreign Office source said that – despite the drastic measures – it would be impossible to stop Britons simply attempting to rebook through a different carrier or head to another of the island’s two airports. At least 160 Britons were holed up in the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel after it was placed on lockdown when four Italians tested positive for coronavirus on Monday.
Jet2 confirmed that 100 holidaymakers had booked through their company, while a number of Britons had booked through TUI.
A total of 130 guests from 11 countries have been told they can leave the hotel after undergoing screening because they arrived after those who tested positive had been taken to hospital.
Papers: Staff in protective gear assist guests as they leave the Tenerife hotel. A total of 130 guests from 11 countries have been told they can leave the hotel after undergoing screening because they arrived after those who tested positive had been taken to hospital
Around 700 tourists were in the hotel at the time of the outbreak.
Those who arrived prior to February 24 have been told they will not be allowed to leave the hotel until March 10. Yesterday some holidaymakers criticised a lack of communication from the Foreign Office [FCO] and said that they had concerns about the spread of the virus.
Airline TUI (stock image) has confirmed it will not be jetting the holidaymakers home – leaving many of the tourists stranded. Around 700 tourists were in the hotel at the time of the outbreak and 130 have been told they can leave
Mother-of-two Lara Pennington said she was told families could leave their rooms if they were wearing masks, washed their hands regularly and did not touch their faces.
‘However, we have seen, witnessed, numerous people in the grounds walking round without masks on,’ she said.
A bystander is pictured next to a security fence near the Palace hotel on February 27. Many families were told they could leave their rooms if they were wearing masks, washed their hands regularly and avoided touching their faces
‘I have two very small children, I have my in-laws here and they’re in their 70s, one with an underlying heart problem. We are not prepared to put them at risk. No special measures have been put in place for my children or for them, and we feel very, very unsafe.’
And Jayney Brown, 61, from Wetherby, Yorkshire, told the Mail that 50 British guests were set to leave the hotel yesterday morning. She said that she had been looked after ‘extremely well’, and was prepared to stay in quarantine until March 10. ‘People are being careful with hand sanitizer and we have to wear masks,’ she said. ‘Many people are doing as normal – a lot are around the pool.
‘It’s actually a little bit more sociable than it would have been. The Brits are sticking together and chatting. The bar is only open for an hour a day so you see the same faces there when it opens.
‘Some people, however, are literally staying in their rooms. They are taking it extremely seriously. You only see them on their balconies with their face masks on.’
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: ‘Public Health England is working with the FCO and Spanish authorities to identify people who stayed at the Costa Adeje Hotel in Tenerife on or after February 17.
‘Individuals who have returned from the Costa Adeje Hotel are advised to self-isolate until March 10. If they develop symptoms in that time, they should call NHS 111 and they will be tested for COVID-19.’ The Canary Islands authorities last night said just six Britons had left the hotel.
Meanwhile TUI yesterday said it had advised all of its customers to stay put.