Sunderland couple feel 'like prisoners' in Benidorm hotel under Spanish lockdown measures to combat coronavirus

A Sunderland couple have described the moment police entered their hotel demanding holidaymakers return to their rooms as Spain is put in lockdown to tackle the coronavirus spread.

Wednesday, 18th March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 3:49 pm

Matthew Cain flew out to Benidorm for a holiday with his partner, Hannah Richmond and her mum, Margaret Smith – but never expected the extreme measures which have been imposed.

The 31-year-old has described the moment 14 police officers in full riot gear turned up in the Hotel Rio Park’s games room and demanded holidaymakers return to their rooms.

The couple, who flew out for a week’s break in the sun on Tuesday, March 10, say they aren’t allowed to leave the hotel even to sit around the pool and are confined to their rooms for most of the day.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Hannah Richmond, Matthew Cain and Margaret Smith have been confined to a hotel room.

Matthew, who lives in Hylton Castle, said: “We are like prisoners. All we can do is sit in our rooms.

“The only time we can go down stairs is for our meals. We’re not allowed to sit outside.

“We were sitting in the games room on Sunday evening (March 15), there were about 30 to 40 of us but there was no music or anything.

“Suddenly 14 national police officers were telling everyone to quickly get out and sent us all up to our rooms.

A lockdown in Madrid as part of the country's fight against the spread of the coronavirus. Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP via Getty Images

“My girlfriend suffers from anxiety and she had a panic attack. It was terrifying.”

Deaths linked to Covid-19 in Spain have risen to 491 on Tuesday from 309 the day before, health officials confirmed.

There are now 11,178 confirmed cases in Spain as the government closes its borders.

A spokesman for TUI said: “Guests at the Hotel Rio Park have been asked to remain in the hotel, in line with the Spanish Government and local authority directives and are being looked after by hotel staff.

“We ask that they follow the advice of the local authority and the resort team.

“We are in direct contact with all our affected customers in Spain and are making arrangements to get them home.

“We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding in these unprecedented circumstances and would like to assure all our customers that their safety is our number one priority.”