A Tenerife hotel has been placed on lockdown after an Italian tourist was diagnosed with novel coronavirus. According to Laura Aaltonen, communications manager with travel firm TUI, four of its Finnish customers staying at the Costa Adeje Palace Hotel have been quarantined along with other guests.
"There are a total of eight Nordic guests from TUI at the hotel, four of whom are Finnish. I cannot say whether or not there are other Finns [who travelled] with other tour operators," Aaltonen told Yle.
Another travel firm, Aurinkomatkat confirmed that 16 of its customers were also placed in quarantine at the same hotel.
Earlier on Tuesday, Yle reported that an Italian tourist had been diagnosed with novel coronavirus in Tenerife. He was said to be saying at the same hotel as the Finnish tourists.
Flights to continue as usual
Meanwhile Finnish tour operators have said that they will continue to fly tourists to Tenerife as usual. They said that they are monitoring updates from the National Institute for Health and Welfare, THL, as well as travel advisories issued by the Foreign Ministry in Helsinki. They indicated that they will only begin cancelling tours when the ministry advises travellers to avoid unnecessary visits to the destination.
"Then people can also get refunds from pre-booked trips. Otherwise the regular cancellation rules would apply," Aaltonen noted.
Amanda Alinikula, communications chief with another tour operator Tjäreborg, confirmed that the firm had decided on a similar approach, as did Aurinkomatkat.
"If the Foreign Ministry changes its travel advisories and recommends avoiding unnecessary travel [there], we will give customers the right to free changes and cancellations for certain reservations. Currently normal change and cancellation conditions apply for all of our trips," said Aurinkomatkat marketing specialist Mari Kanerva.
Kanerva’s guidance means that customers will not get refunds because they are wary of travelling to the destination. Tour operators have said that they are complying with the recommendations of the Competition and Consumer Authority, KKV.
Ministry advises caution travelling to Spain
So far the Foreign Ministry has advised tourists to exercise the usual degree of caution when travelling to Spain. On Monday, the ministry cautioned visitors to exercise extreme caution on trips to Italy, as local media reported on Tuesday that seven people had died from the disease.
On Monday, the THL described Italy’s reaction to the novel coronavirus outbreak in the north as overblown. Division manager Mika Salminen said that restricting people’s ability to move around rarely leads to good results.
The THL noted that Finland’s Infectious Diseases Act does not allow local authorities to impose on entire cities curfews or restrictions on the right to move around.