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World News

Spain's Canaries to cover all COVID-related costs for tourists

FILE PHOTO: Tourists wearing protective face masks carry their belongings as they leave the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel, after their quarantine was lifted, following the coronavirus outbreak in Adeje, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Medina

MADRID (Reuters) - All Spanish and foreign tourists visiting the Canary Islands will have any potential coronavirus-related costs covered by the regional government, it said on Wednesday, in an attempt to rescue the tourist season after a new spike in infections in Spain.

Such costs include health expenses or the extension of holidays in case of a compulsory quarantine while on the islands.

The move will take effect this week and is the first of its kind in Spain as the tourism-dependent nation seeks to reassure visitors after Britain dealt a blow to the sector by imposing a compulsory quarantine for anyone coming from Spain.

The travel policy will be managed by French insurer AXA and will include health-related repatriations, the Canary Islands regional government said in a statement. It will last for one year and will exclude health conditions that were known of before the traveller concerned came to the islands.

“It will help the economic recovery of the archipelago,” Yaiza Castilla, the regional official in charge of tourism, said in a video published on Twitter.

In a relief for the Canary Islands, Swiss health authorities on Wednesday excluded the archipelago, as well as the Balearic Islands, from its decision to add Spain to its list of countries from which arriving passengers must enter a 10-day quarantine.

Spain reported 1,772 new coronavirus infections on Wednesday, marking the biggest daily jump since a national lockdown was lifted in June following a sharp drop in contagion rates.

Reporting by Joan Faus, editing by Andrei Khalip

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