Coronavirus strands thousands of Brits in Spain with drones monitoring tourists

Thousands of Brits are trapped in Spain amid a coronavirus lockdown – with helicopters and drones monitoring tourists.

The government in Madrid has declared an emergency , as the death toll reaches 292 with nearly 8,000 confirmed cases.

Public gatherings have been banned and all citizens have been ordered to stay at home unless they need to buy food.

In the Costa del Sol, police can jail residents and issue fines of up to £25,000 if anyone breaks quarantine.

Retired British fireman Denis Couzens and his wife Margaret are staying at a caravan site near the resort of Estepona.

They arrived in January and had been due to stay until April, but now face two weeks under lockdown.

Mr Couzens told the Daily Mail: “I take medication for a lung disease called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which could be linked to my years as a firefighter so I'm in the risk category.

“We're probably not going to take the risk of leaving to try to get home if things are still so volatile.

“There's a good 150 holidaymakers on the site at the moment and around 70% of them are British. Most are in their 60s and 70s.”

Police officers have driven across beaches on the Costas telling those breaking the lockdown to get back inside.

Helicopters and drones have also been used to monitor locals and tourists.

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In Benidorm, baton-wielding cops ordered British revellers to go back to their hotels.

Ryanair is significantly reducing the number of flights it makes to Spain and the surrounding islands, with a raft set to be cancelled between today and March 19.

Jet2 planes from the UK to Spain turned back in mid-air on Saturday as the airline announced it was cancelling all flights to the country.

EasyJet has warned seats for its rescue flights will be sold on a “first-come-first-served” basis.

Julia Spencer, from Saddleworth near Manchester, flew on Jet2 to Tenerife's five-star Sandos San Blas Nature Resort.

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She added: “There are hundreds of British tourists here and most of us are really panicked.

“We have no idea what's going on. The hotel reception say that once the lockdown comes into force, we won't be able to leave the hotel for any reason other than to visit a pharmacy.

“But we've had nothing official from anyone.”

The Foreign Office currently advises against all but essential travel to the entire country.

Its guidance reads: “UK nationals currently in Spain should follow the advice of local authorities.

“Anybody planning to travel to Spain should consult their airline or tour operator.”

  • Easyjet
  • Jet2
  • Ryanair
  • Spain
  • Coronavirus

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