Canary Islands hope to welcome back Britons with new ‘two-minute’ breathalyser test

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Holidays to mainland Spain, as well as the Balearic and Canary Islands, are on hold for now as quarantine regulations remain in place. However, the Canary Islands are asking the UK Government to consider them on a regional basis, and are pointing to the introduction of new methods of coronavirus testing in order to restart tourism once again.

According to officials, a new breathalyser test could be introduced which is said to give results in just two minutes.

It would reduce the need for quarantine upon entry to the islands, and tourism ministers also hope it would change the rules for Britons returning back to the UK.

At the time of writing, Britons returning from Spain and its surrounding islands face 14 days of mandatory quarantine.

Anyone found in breach of this could face fines of up to £1,000.

However, in recent weeks there have been whispers that new guidelines are being discussed to try and look at coronavirus cases on a regional basis.

If so this could provide more travel opportunities for Britons.

Tenerife is one of the islands tipped to “open up” to UK tourists within the next few weeks as the regional government waits to hear what criteria will be needed to lift the British government’s 14-day quarantine rule.

The other islands, including Lanzarote and Gran Canaria, would follow once their coronavirus outbreak figures decrease.

The Canary government has been told that the tourism ministers from the EU will announce new guidelines on how safe travel corridors can be created on September 28.

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President of the Canaries, Ángel Víctor Torres said this was very good news as the high season for the islands begins in October due to the good all-year-round weather.

The authorities and hoteliers have already said they will help pay for coronavirus tests and the search is now on for the best method.

Several test options are being considered for tourists entering and leaving the islands.

The fastest on the market gives a result in just two minutes and costs 15 euros.

It works much like a hand-held breathalyser.

Travellers exhale into the device, which then tests the exhaled air for COVID-19.

The other option is the rapid detection PCR which costs 30 euros and the resolution time is one hour.

The Canary government says the tests must be done at airports since other alternatives such as doing it abroad have logistics and costs that make it difficult.

The Canary Islands also want all passengers to be included and not just foreign tourists.

Mr Torres stressed the need to “bend the curve of coronavirus” in the Canary Islands so that reactivation plans are possible and avoid ” social bankruptcy”.

Tenerife’s president, Pedro Martín (PSOE) warned: “time is running out”.

He added: “in a matter of weeks we must make decisions and reach an agreement with the United Kingdom, which is the main client for the island of Tenerife.”

EU tourism ministers are set to announce a new protocol for travel on September 28.

This will include coronavirus (PCR) tests for tourists, both at origin and destination, in order to create safe corridors.

It is thought the plan will target holidaymakers from the UK and Germany, and may even remove the need for Britons to quarantine.

Addiitonal reporting by Rita Sobot

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