Airline refuses to fly home Britons from coronavirus-hit Spanish hotel until tests negative

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

Airline Jet2 has said it will not fly back any people who have been staying in isolation at a coronavirus-hit Spanish hotel until they have tested negative for the illness.

Some 168 Britons remain confined to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife after at least four guests were diagnosed with coronavirus.

It's understood about 50 of the Britons will be allowed to leave if they wish.

But Jet2 has said it was not prepared to fly them home.

It said: "We will not fly any customer who has stayed at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace during the quarantine, until this incubation period has passed or unless they have been explicitly tested for COVID-19 by a recognised authority and are confirmed as clear of the virus."

Credit: PA

The Minister of Health in Tenerife said around 130 guests from 11 different countries will be able to leave the hotel if they arrived on Monday, after infected guests had already left.

The development comes after the first case of coronavirus has been diagnosed in Northern Ireland, as two further patients have been diagnosed in England.

It brings the total number of UK Covid-19 cases to 16 and experts have warned of the "social cost" if the virus intensifies.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride told reporters the patient had come from northern Italy via Dublin.

Northern Ireland's Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride. Credit: PA

Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer, said on Thursday that there could be a "social cost" if the virus intensifies, including school closures for more than two months.

He told the Nuffield Trust summit: "One of the things that's really clear with this virus, much more so than flu, is that anything we do we're going to have to do for quite a long period of time, probably more than two months."

The Northern Ireland patient had recently returned from northern Italy, while a parent at a primary school in Derbyshire contracted the virus in Tenerife, where 168 Britons are being kept in a hotel on the south west of the island.

Burbage Primary School in Buxton remains closed after the adult was diagnosed with the illness and Buxton Medical Practice, a two-minute drive from the school, also urged patients not to attend for appointments on Thursday due to the confirmed case.

The third patient also contracted the virus in Italy, which has become the worst affected country in Europe with at least 650 cases and 15 deaths.

Speaking at a press conference in Belfast, Dr Michael McBride, chief medical officer for Northern Ireland, said: "We have been planning for the first positive case in Northern Ireland and have made clear that it was a question of when not if."

Burbage primary school in Derbyshire remains closed. Credit: PA

Global stock markets are continuing to suffer under the worries of the economic impact of the spread of the virus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank nearly 1,200 points on Thursday, deepening a week-long global market rout caused by worries that the coronavirus outbreak will wreak havoc on the global economy.

Bond prices soared again, sending the yield on the 10-year Treasury to another record low.

When yields fall it is a sign that investors are feeling less confident about the strength of the economy going forward.

“People can demand things that feel safe for irrational amounts of time,” said Katy Kaminski, chief research strategist at AlphaSimplex Group. “It doesn’t matter, the fundamentals, when people are worried.”

Traders are worried that the virus will have a longer impact on world markets. Credit: AP

Japan's Nikkei is down almost 3% on Friday and losses are being seen across markets in the East.

New cases are springing up across the world with the first being reported in the Netherlands, Belarus, Nigeria and New Zealand.