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Published on Thursday, December 10, 2020

Canaries accept cheaper, faster Covid antigen test

The Canary Islands is allowing UK tourists entry with a rapid Covid-19 antigen test, making it easier to sell holidays to the popular winter sun islands of Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

President Angel Victor Torres signed a decree on Wednesday afternoon which means tourists will no longer have to present a negative PCR test, which is more expensive than the antigen test and takes longer to get the results.

Many agents have reported problems with clients missing flights to the Canaries - along with other destinations - after their postal PCR test results failed to come through in time.

Some agents even said they were turning away bookings because they didn't want the stress of re-arranging holidays if clients missed their flights because of testing delays. Others said they were telling customers to book their tests before booking their holidays.

Agents are also reporting delays with the discounted postal PCR tests from both TUI and Jet2holidays' recommended providers, with some clients who have used the services having to rearrange their hoidays because the results took longer than expected.

However, clients are struggling to get appointments for more reliable PCR tests in clinics, at drive through test centres and at Boots. Several airports have introduced testing in recent weeks but appointments are scarce and many customers have reported problems with online booking systems; Boots has no appointments for in-store tests until January.

So it will come as welcome news to agents that the Canary Islands, unlike the Spanish mainland, will accept antigen tests from Thursday as these don't need to be sent to a lab for analysis so results can come back within hours rather than days.

The decree by President Torres was published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands (BOC) on Wednesday afternoon and will come into force today.

The Canaries said it had decided to accept the antigen test after registering very few new cases of Covid amongst visitors over the past five weeks during which it has received more than 250,000 international tourists.


By Linsey McNeill, Editor (UK)

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