There was an outcry when the Canaries and the Balearic Islands were included on the Spanish quarantine list despite their distance from the mainland and their low Covid rates. But what is life really like if you are an ex-pat in the Canaries and is it really a health risk for visitors to holiday there? Travel writer Matthew Hirtes (pictured above) gives an insight.

THE fear wasn’t that we would infect those from the UK but that they would infect us. We experienced the strictest of lockdowns.

We had fitness-obsessed youngsters desperate for a run collared by plain-clothes police officers to people being fined for having non-essential items (as in crisps and fizzy drinks) in their shopping bags. And the army even patrolled the streets of my neighbourhood in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

As a result we’re one of the Spanish regions with the lowest numbers of Covid-19 infections.

We don’t understand why we’re being lumped in with the badly affected areas of the mainland over 1750kms away.

Tourism is our lifeblood. By taking away our travel corridor status you’re further isolating us.

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As a travel journalist I was invited on the first safe flight from Madrid to the Canary Islands.

My family were worried about me heading to the Spanish capital, a Covid-19 hotspot.

But I found social distancing to be as strictly enforced there as on the Canaries. From Madrid I ended up in Fuerteventura. It was interesting to see the protocols of Gran Canaria applied with equal rigour on Fuerteventura.

I went on a pirate-ship cruise. It was reduced capacity and the closest the Jack Sparrow-esque captain got to me was when he pointed his pistol at me as way of a greeting.

Our hotel had only just reopened and face masks were worn at all times in public areas apart from when eating and drinking.

Only one person could use a lift at any one time unless guests shared a room.

Everything seemed to point to the Canary Islands being the face of safe tourism, so the decision of the from the UK felt like a smack in

the face.