SPAIN has now officially been put on lockdown.
Some British expats however took the chance and left the country over the weekend, to return home.
Three Brits have spoken exclusively to the Olive Press to tell us why and how they felt leaving Spain.
A 23-year-old expat from London – who we are not naming – boarded an EasyJet flight from Malaga to London Gatwick on Thursday evening.
He had bought his tickets well in advance, in order to go visit his family, but said: “Even if I hadn’t booked my flight when I did, I would’ve done it last minute just to get out.”
That’s the common theme he saw from his fellow passengers, with one 55-year-old man from Surrey having paid €180 for the same flight that originally cost €44.
“Everyone around me was panic buying plane tickets, so I decided to do the same not to get trapped here,” said the retired expat with a holiday home in Marbella.
That was evident on the flight as well, when the air steward announced that there wouldn’t be enough food for everyone, as they had a sudden increase in passengers on the day of the flight.
“We didn’t expect so many passengers, the flight was practically empty and now it’s completely full,” said the 21-year-old from Essex.
That’s the same reason that drove Milo Price Phillips to also book his flight back last minute.
The 20-year-old who lives in Estepona decided to book the first flight back to the UK that he could get, even though it was more than 230 kilometres away from his final destination.
“I talked to my family Saturday night and they told me to book any flight I could find for Sunday, so I bought a ticket to Newcastle,” he said when speaking to the Olive Press.
“My father had to drive a couple of hours from Manchester to pick me up, but I couldn’t be trapped in Estepona on my own, especially now that work had shut down.
“I was so worried we wouldn’t be able to fly out, we were delayed by two hours, just sitting on the plane waiting for air traffic control to give us the green light.”
Cathy Price, 61, who also lives in Estepona had booked a flight back to Manchester on Saturday evening because she has a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday and because she had to finalise some paperwork for a property she’s selling in the Greater Manchester area.
Price, originally from Preston intends to return to Spain as soon as she can, but was worried her intended flight wouldn’t get to depart and was flirting with the idea of purchasing another ticket for an earlier date.
“When I started hearing on the news that the cases were rising and that Sanchez was planning to put the country on lockdown, I started panicking because I knew I had to make it back for my doctor’s appointment.”