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Canary Islands offer virus insurance to tourists

Visitors to Spain’s Canary Islands can now benefit from insurance cover if they get the coronavirus, the region’s government said on Wednesday.

In a move that may help the islands to increase tourism, any visitor who tests positive for COVID-19 will be able to access free medical care, repatriation and get accommodation for quarantine measures, via a deal with the Spanish branch of AXA, a French insurer.

The Canary Islands are “the first Spanish region where tourists, both Spanish and foreign, will be guaranteed” that their virus-related expenses will be covered, according to Yaiza Castilla, the regional tourism chief.

Coverage is only for those who were not previously aware that they were infected, and will only be activated if the visitor doesn’t have personal insurance to cover the costs.

Tourism accounts for about 35 percent of the Canary’s economic output, with tourists from Britain accounting for about a third of all visitors, according to an AFP report.

Spain has been one of the worst-hit countries by the pandemic, with more than 28,000 deaths. A three-month lockdown hit the tourism sector hard.

The Canary Islands, like Spain’s Balearic Islands, has a much lower infection rate than the rest of Spain. But tourism on the islands was hit hard by the British government’s decision to not make an exception for the region, and to require tourists to undergo quarantine on their return home.

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