Bray People

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Newtown man afraid he would be stranded


Paul Lee, fourth from left on top row seat, with his friends

Paul Lee, fourth from left on top row seat, with his friends

Paul Lee, fourth from left on top row seat, with his friends

A Newtown man was afraid his flight home would be delayed as Benidorm went into lockdown at the weekend.

Paul Lee of Newtownmountkennedy was part of a group trip over to Benidorm and feared his return flight on Saturday would be cancelled as the popular tourist-destination went into lockdown.

'We thought we would be stuck there for at least two weeks. I think we got lucky. If the flight had been any later than Saturday then we would have to had stayed for longer. At that stage there was already talk of shutting down the airport on Sunday,' said Paul.

Everything appeared calm in Benidorm up until Friday night when a curfew was announced.

'We were watching Cheltenham on TV when the lady in the bar mentioned that they were talking on the news about shutting down Benidorm. Then around an hour later she told us everything was shutting up and that we had to be back in our hotel by 10 p.m. There was a police presence as well patrolling people back to their hotel rooms. The whole strip was pretty busy.'

Paul didn't notice the same levels of hysteria setting in that he has witnessed in Ireland since his return.

'Things there still appeared pretty calm. You didn't have the same panic in Benidorm that you have here. The shops weren't cleared of stock and things were relatively normal. Maybe it has gotten a little worse over there since but there wasn't the same level of paranoia over in Spain that you are getting here. You didn't see row after row of empty shelves in the shops and and the panic buying you have in Ireland, at least not when I was there.'

Paul was also shocked at the lack of temperature checks and screenings carried out at Dublin Airport as passengers returned to Ireland.

'The flight crew handed us a leaflet on Covid-19 when we were leaving and that was it. I didn't notice any HSE or airport officials there to give out any advice or to update people.

'There weren't even any hand sanitizers, while the airport in Spain was full of them. We thought for certain that we would be delayed while they swab us or take our temperature, but there was nothing like that. We had heard that if you had a temperature you were immediately put into quarantine but no tests were carried out on any of us. We just walked straight through customs and out of arrivals. We were all very surprised.'

Upon his return to Newtownmountkennedy, Paul has been residing with a friend as the relative he normally lives with has an underlying medical condition which could put them at risk if they contact the virus.

'It's just as precaution because these are such worrying times. You have to do everything you can to try and stop the spread. It must be particularly frightening if you have elderly people staying with you.

'I still don't think there is enough information being provided, which probably fuels some of the paranoia out there.'

Bray People