Coronavirus: Jet2 flights to Spain turn around mid-flight as entire country readies for lockdown

Airline says it is contacting customers

Coronavirus: Can herd immunity help the UK battle the outbreak?

Planes turned around in mid-air after Jet2 cancelled all flights to Spain on the same day the country prepared to lockdown over the coronavirus outbreak.

According to a draft decree, people will be told to stay at home - except to buy food or medicine, go to work or the hospital, or for other emergencies - as authorities battle the pandemic.

The goverment is set to vote on a nationwide lockdown on Saturday, after Jet2 said it was suspending all flights travel to the mainland Spain, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands on Saturday "with immediate effect".

The flights have been cancelled “in response to local measures introduced throughout Spain to prevent the spread of Covid-19, including the closure of bars, restaurants, shops and activities,” the airline said in a statement.

“We know these local measures will have a significant impact on our customer’ holidays, which is why we have taken this decision.”

A Jet2 spokeswoman said on Saturday morning that planes had turned back mid-flight.

The British airline said they are in the process of contacting affected customers and urged people not to call them up.

Jet2 has also stopped flying to Cyprus, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and Malta in recent days due to the outbreak.

Spain is the second-worst hit country by coronavirus in Europe after Italy, which has gone into lockdown as authorities work to combat the spread of the virus.

Over 5,000 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Spain and 129 patients have died as of Saturday, according to a Reuters tally.

Spain’s prime minister declared a two-week long state of emergency on Friday, as some regions – including Madrid and Catalonia – said they would start closing bars, restaurants and shops apart from those selling essential items.

Schools and universities have also been shut for at least two weeks.

Pedro Sanchez said the number of cases could top 10,000 by next week – more than double the current level – and asked citizens to play their part.

“Heroism is also washing your hands and staying home,” the PM said in a televised address to the nation on Friday.

Airlines have been cancelling flights to countries that have been badly-hit by the coronavirus outbreak, which has infected more than 145,000 people across the globe, and some have been suspended flights due to an overall drop in demand.

The UK government has advised against “all but essential travel” to the most affected regions in Spain, including Madrid and La Rioja.

Hundreds of holidaymakers in a Tenerife hotel – used by Jet2holidays – were placed in quarantine last month after a guest tested positive for Covid-19, a flu-like virus that can develop into pneumonia.

Tourists were told to stay in their rooms as testing took place.

Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, and the number of global coronavirus-related deaths jumped to more than 5,400 on Saturday.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in