Ministry of Foreign Affairs considers intense phase of consular emergency culminated after ensuring return of some 26,000 Spaniards
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation considers the intense phase of consular emergency culminated after the vast majority of Spanish tourists and travellers stranded abroad by restrictive measures and flight cancellations stemming from the coronavirus were repatriated. In the last few hours, the figure of 26,000 Spaniards helped back home was reached after yesterday alone 500 passengers got back to Spain thanks to the assistance provided by our embassies and consular offices.

There was a particularly important operation from Morocco, after a major effort by our consulates to take some 180 passengers by bus to Casablanca before flying back to Spain. And the much awaited flight with 292 passengers on-board back from Bolivia ,which sadly also returned the ashes of the compatriots who died in a plane crash who were precisely due to catch this flight.

The EU Emergency Response Coordination Centre expressly stated that “we are no longer in crisis mode” and that henceforth the European Civil Protection Mechanism (the European mechanism under which most of these flights have been arranged) will now be much more restrictive in co-financing repatriation flights. In fact, most Member States have drastically reduced, or completely suspended, their flights.

However, Spain still has four scheduled flights back over the next few days, from Chile (10 May), Costa Rica (12 May), Gambia (12 May) and Cuba (16 May). After completing these operations, Spain will have arranged a total of 49 repatriation flights to help all those people return who were taken by surprise by the severe restrictions stemming from COVID-19, and who had no other possibility of getting back to Spain.

Both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation and the network of embassies and consular offices have started to register new applications from Spanish citizens who now want to return. They are trying to attend to these situations, paying close attention to those cases in situations of greater vulnerability.

In fact, several ambassadors have taken the initiative to send a letter out to all those Spaniards who have now asked to return to Spain. The common denominator of these letters can be summarised in an understanding of the situation they are going through, patience with the difficulties we are all encountering in all countries to move around, and responsibility in fitting in to the possibilities suggested which are the only channels that exist in many cases.

However, the embassies and consular offices remain in on-going contact with Spanish citizens through the usual channels. Furthermore, the ‘Aloja’ platform remains active, which this week received 615 applications for accommodation and 491 offers of accommodation from Spanish residents living abroad to take in those people who cannot find accommodation whilst waiting to return home.



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