The Spanish holiday resort of Benidorm has seen a surge in Covid cases since the country opened back up to international travellers, according to local health officials.
After the resort town was reclassified as “extreme risk” by the Spanish government, the health minister for the regional Valencian government, Ana Barcelo, said: “We are observing the situation in Benidorm and the increase in the number of Covid cases there with concern.
“We will watch how things evolve and adopt measures to control the situation if it becomes necessary.”
She added: “We began to detect the rise in the number of cases after 5 October when more tourists began to arrive from the UK.”
The town’s 14-day cumulative incidence rate per 100,000 inhabitants is currently 286, with 53 per cent of cases reportedly among non-Spanish nationals.
That figure is six times the average in the town’s wider province of Alicante.
Authorities have said that they will reinstate Covid restrictions if cases continue to rise.
A spokesperson for the hotel association Hosbec, however, called the figures “skewed”, saying that authorities don’t take into account the “floating” population of holiday home owners and tourists that increase the local head count each year.
Earlier this month, Hosbec’s president Toni Mayor warned about a spike in cases, saying: “There’s a British atmosphere in Benidorm which reminds me of the atmosphere of old before the pandemic struck.
“Around 20 per cent of the holidaymakers in town at the moment are now British. We think the number of Brits holidaying here will rise rapidly and there could be a massive surge.”
Benidorm has long been synonymous with the phrase “Brits abroad”, with an entire TV sitcom of the same name based around the concept.
With temperatures still hitting 26 and 27 degrees Celsius at this point in October, it’s been a popular suntrap for many Britons taking their first holiday since the pandemic began.