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'It will affect lots of people who were expecting family to visit': Church leader in Spain disappointed as Canaries removed from travel corridor

A church leader in Spain has said it is "very disappointing" that the Canary Islands have been removed from the safe-travel list, with Christmas only two weeks away. 

From 12th December, people returning to the UK from the islands will have to self-isolate for 14 days, although that will reduce to 10 days from 14th December. 

Speaking to Premier, Rev Bob Harrocks, the vicar of Fuerteventura church, said the new measures will affect lots of people who were expecting family to visit, including himself. 

"Our son was hoping to come out and visit us but because of his work situation, he can't afford to be able to come out and then suddenly find that he's got to take another two weeks off when he gets back," he said. "His annual visit is on hold for this year."

Tour operator Tui said 800 people were ready to leave on 11th December with more than 5,000 UK holidaymakers already in the Canary Islands. 

Travellers to the UK from mainland Spain currently have to self-isolate, but an exemption was made in October for the Canary Islands as covid cases were relatively low. 

Rev Harrocks also highlighted the impact that the measures will have on the islands' businesses. 

"There is a huge part of the local economy that is built on tourism. Every time things seem to open up, people get things ready for the new regulations and then something like the existing situation happens again. They're thrown into harsh economic conditions so there are lots of people in poverty on the island."

He encouraged people to pray for the Canary Islands at this time.

"Prayer for individuals feeling the loss of presence of families, whether they might be going back for work or [who] would go back to the UK for Christmas to spend time with families, and vice versa for those families who are going to be missing their family who are out here in the Canaries." 

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