PRESS RELEASE 032
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation facilitates return of almost 900 tourists after resuming flights between Italy and Spain exclusively to return Spanish citizens
25/03/2020
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, through its embassy and consulates in Italy, has stepped up operational coordination to enable almost 900 Spanish tourists stuck in Italy back to Spain who wished to return home.

Following Tuesday’s Council of Ministers approving the Agreement to modify the decision taken on 10 March in which exceptional measures were imposed to limit the spread and contagion of COVID-19, the ban on flights will be lifted exclusively to transport Spanish citizens back from Italy to Spain

This lifting of the ban will facilitate the assistance that the embassy and consulates-general in Rome, Milan, Naples and Genoa are able to provide to the more than 500 Spanish tourists that have used the usual channels (telephone, web page and social media) to express their interest in being helped to return home. 

In parallel, the ferry that left the port of Civitavecchia on Tuesday is expected to reach Barcelona on Wednesday, with more than 200 Spanish citizens aboard, who were helped by the Spanish Consulate in Rome. Another group has left Milan by coach for Barcelona, after this connection was arranged by our consulate in Milan. 

We should remember that at the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Spanish Embassy and Consulates in Italy attended to 5,500 people in just a few hours, most of whom have now spent more than 10 days in lockdown. 

On Tuesday, there were also a considerable number of flights from Germany to Spain - 14 in total - which in some cases carried passengers on stop-overs, including a group of children who were travelling unaccompanied from Canada. The consulate-general in Amsterdam also received two minors on Tuesday from Canada who were then accompanied on a flight to Spain. Last weekend alone, this consulate accompanied another 20 Spanish children, who in this case were travelling from Dublin.

The list of Spanish travellers in other parts of Europe who were able to return in recent hours, thanks to the intense activity of our network of embassies and consulates, also includes 39 Spaniards travelling on a flight from Vilnius which arrived in Alicante on Wednesday, who had been in Indonesia, together with a further 31 who had been visiting Lithuania; along with eight Spanish tourists and 14 Ukrainians resident in Spain with Spanish family, who were attended by the Spanish consular services in Ukraine, who were able to travel to Barcelona from Kiev.

The situation in Africa and the Middle East has considerably improved following the arrival, early on Wednesday morning, of 200 Spanish citizens travelling from Senegal and Guinea Bissau; five tourists who were in Jordan, one in Iran; and the last two tourists that the Spanish embassies were aware of, one each in Oman and Israel. 

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is still trying to secure, at all levels and through various channels, the return of Spanish tourists from whichever country they find themselves in. These processes have led to the confirmation of special commercial flights from Peru and the Dominican Republic which will depart on Wednesday with some 400 passengers on-board, to which can be added, over the course of this week, more flights pending confirmation from other locations in South America.  

Finally, the situation in Asia and the Pacific continues to move forward, with the consulate in Jakarta finding seats for 39 Spaniards on the previously mentioned flight with a stop-over in Vilnius. In the Philippines, work is being carried out to find a solution for the 490 people who will arrive there over the coming week. 10 people managed to leave India on Wednesday for Spain, with a stopover in Bulgaria while the embassy continues to look for alternatives for the other 290 Spaniards in the country, despite the difficulties it faces in their dispersion throughout the country and the travel restrictions imposed by local authorities. 12 people will return from Vietnam on Wednesday while 15 have opted to stay in the country; two Spanish tourists are also due to leave the Cook Islands, who will travel from Auckland to Los Angeles, then via London to Madrid.

Despite the difficult global situation and severe travel restrictions being imposed by all countries around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the network of 215 embassies and consulates continue striving with their more than 4,500 professionals spread across the globe to assist all those Spanish travellers who wish to return to Spain, who are constantly in touch by telephone from the Spanish representations overseas, through the web page and social media, as well as the via Emergency Unit telephone line, which is staffed by 140 people attending to calls 24 hours a day on +34913948900.




-NON OFFICIAL TRANSLATION-

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