Green campaigners in Majorca are urging the holiday hotspot to temporarily ban large cruise ships from docking in its ports. The news comes in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, despite the fact the region has hopes to reignite tourism as soon as possible.
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The campaigners say that cruise ship passengers will be a serious coronavirus threat which will be difficult to control.
They claim the holiday liners are a “potential danger”, not just to the places they visit but to all the passengers and crew who might well find themselves placed in quarantine on-board as has already happened during the COVID-19 crisis.
The region, which attracts around 10 million tourists annually, has been severely impacted by the lack of foot traffic due to lockdown and border restrictions.
As the State of Emergency in Spain is set to lift on June 21, Majorca officials have begun to unveil plans to welcome back tourists.
However, the activists claim the “pressure to revive tourism” is creating unacceptable duress to allow cruise ships back into Spanish ports.
The call for action is being led by the pressure group, the Platform against Mega-cruises which is made up of representatives from more than 30 other groups, including Ecologists in Action, the Federation of Residents’ Associations of Palma and the Mallorca Preservation Fund.
Its members are calling for the Balearic government to put a block on arrivals until they reveal what coronavirus protocols are being proposed, including a contingency plan for what would happen if someone on board developed the virus.
The platform is particularly concerned about how social distancing could be guaranteed on board, given the number of people on cruise ships and the potential for overcrowding.
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“Our concern increases when we see the existing pressures that are being made to accelerate the economic recovery with the motivation of generating jobs, ignoring the risks of the outbreaks of the coronavirus,” said a spokesman.
The platform says tracing and isolating would be very hard if a passenger developed coronavirus “which is why it represents a potential danger for the cities where it stops, as well as a lack of security for the passengers and crew.”
Representatives of relevant parliamentary groups are being sought out to meet and put pressure on the Port Authority to determine specific anti-coronavirus measures.
The Balearic president recently made moves to have a mandatory 14-day quarantine rule lifted for tourists visiting Majorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera.
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It comes as the region plans to allow 5,000 German tourists to visit as part of an experiment to test its anti-coronavirus protocols.
According to Spanish media Ultrahora.es, the Prime Minister has agreed and would make an exception for the Balearics in these circumstances.
It is not yet known if this will be applicable to all tourists moving forward, or if it will just cover the test group of holidaymakers.
Though the UK is currently in talks to determine an “air bridge” with Spain, which would allow travellers to fly between countries without the need for a quarantine period, it is not yet known if and when this will come to fruition.
At present arrivals into the UK must adhere to a two-week mandatory quarantine period.
The quarantine rules, which Tory MPs, holiday companies and airlines have condemned, will see anyone arriving from abroad face being subject to 14 days of self-isolation.
Authorities are allowed to check up on arrivals at any point during the two week period.
Anyone caught not following the rules may be faced with a fine of £1,000.
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot
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