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Coronavirus: Alf McCreary on lockdown in Lanzarote... but at least view is amazing

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Break: Alf in Lanzarote

Break: Alf in Lanzarote

Break: Alf in Lanzarote

My wife Hilary and I arrived in Lanzarote on Thursday for a week's sunshine break. We travelled from Belfast to Arrecife Airport.

For the first two days all was normal in our four-star hotel in Playa Blanca on the southern tip of the island.

At this time of year it is quiet and most visitors are older people and younger visitors with families.

Playa Blanca is quite a large tourist resort, which grew from the small village we visited here over 20 years ago.

It is now fairly upmarket and reminds me of Portstewart with strong sunshine, although we are on an island only 78 miles off the African coast.

Before we left Belfast we knew there was a risk in flying so far when coronavirus was rampant. However, if we had cancelled for no good reason we would have lost the not inconsiderable cost of our holiday.

On Saturday mid-morning we were sunbathing by the pool when we heard that Jet2 had cancelled all incoming flights to Spain and the Canary Islands, after a statement from the Spanish Government that has led to a lockdown of the country for 15 days.

It was disturbing to hear this news but almost immediately Jet2 sent a staff member to the Sandos Papagayo Hotel - incidentally a Belfast woman called Lindsey - who reassured us.

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Deserted Playa Blanca beach

Deserted Playa Blanca beach

Deserted Playa Blanca beach

Later on we received a text from Jet2 that we would be flown home according to our schedule, in our case on Thursday.

All seemed well until Sunday morning when we took the delightful path walk to Playa Blanca centre only to find that everything was in lockdown.

Cafes and shops were closed and the were no taxis.

When we got back to the hotel we were told that we are in lockdown too. We are confined to our room, though people are still moving around the hotel and pool areas.

The atmosphere is quiet and there is no sense of panic.

However, there are rumours the local airport may be closed. This is worrying because people are afraid of being trapped, and most, including ourselves, would be happy to go home as soon as possible.

On the bright side, we have a lovely room with a balcony overlooking the Atlantic.

There are worse places in which to be stuck but we could do without the uncertainty.

Belfast Telegraph