I hope everyone is well and managing to stay safe and comfortable during this incredibly difficult time.
I wanted to provide an update on various topics that may be of interest to your communities.
1. We know that access to healthcare is always a key issue and our healthcare team have provided two updates on home delivery of prescription medicine (for residents and visitors) and on access to regular medical treatment for residents. You may have already seen these posted on our website, but thought you might prefer to share them in document form.
2. The crisis is affecting us all in many different ways, including financially. Therefore we have pulled together a summary on the Spanish government’s economic measures with some useful links where people can find out more. As I’m sure people are ware, the Embassy cannot offer financial advice, but we hope that the signposting will help people acess the support they need.
3. Only essential travel is permitted during the state of emergency, but we know that there are UK nationals who want to return to the UK, but have not yet been able to do so. As you will be aware, there are very limited flights back to the UK and currently the only direct flights are going from Madrid, Barcelona and Gibraltar. We do not expect flight schedules to return to normal during May, so we would encourage those people who wish to return to take one of the flights that are available. You may also be aware that Brittany Ferries has cancelled crossings from Spain to the UK until at least 15 May, so again we would encourage those people who want to return to the UK over land to do so by driving through France, where there are ferries operating and the EuroTunnel remains open. There is lots of information on the documentation needed on our Facebook page (Brits in Spain) and the travel advice pages for Spain and France (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain and https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france)
We are conscious that we have focused a lot on trying to support visitors to remain home over the last month or so, but recognise that many UK residents in Spain will have questions about what COVID-19 means for them – for example, how it affects their residency and healthcare – or may just be confused about the restrictions under the state of emergency. We are going to be holding a virtual drop-in session on our Facebook page on Wednesday 22 April (Brits in Spain) to give people the opportunity to post their questions to us. Please note that this will not be a live session as, like most people, we are all working from home. Instead, we will give people a limited time period (13:00 to 17:00 (CET)) to post their questions, which we will then answer through a series of videos and a Q&A document. Please do promote this opportunity to anyone you think may have questions.
I hope this update is useful and please do share.