‘Hotel baby’ born after hospital blunder

A Galician woman gave birth to a baby daughter in a hotel room on Sunday just two hours after hospital staff diagnosed her as not being in labour and sent her home again.

'Hotel baby' born after hospital blunder
"Something like this doesn't happen every day," said the owner of the Hotel Insua after a baby was born in room 216. Photo: Hotel Insua

Although expectant mother Margarita was having contractions "first every four minutes, then every three", doctors in Hospital Virxe da Xunqueira in the town of Cee, La Coruña, decided labour was not imminent.

They sent her home but as it was already 9pm on Sunday night and the family lived some distance away in the town of Merexo, the woman decided to book into the nearby Hotel Insua with her partner.

"I realized we weren't going to make if very far," she told regional daily La Voz de Galicia.

Baby Marina was born just two hours later.

The hotel is just a few hundred metres from the hospital but the couple were told that an ambulance would take 25 minutes.

New dad Manuel said that he was keeping a sense of humour about the circumstances leading up to the birth but admitted that he was on edge thanks to "two days with no sleep".

Margarita, who is 35 and has two other children, was described as "tired" but otherwise fine after giving birth to the healthy, 2.78kg baby.

Hotel staff are said to have remained unaware of the events transpiring in room 216 until doctors and an ambulance crew arrived to take the newborn to hospital with her mother.

The hotel's owner, Pilar Insua, sent flowers to the family in hospital and invited them to stay in the hotel for free to celebrate Marina's first birthday.

"Because it's not everyday something like this happens," she said.

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Which Spanish regions are likely to allow people to remove their masks outdoors?

As Spain's vaccine campaign gains speed and the infection rate drops, there are indications that facemasks will very soon no longer be compulsory outdoors in several Spanish regions.

Which Spanish regions are likely to allow people to remove masks outdoors?

Spain’s Health Emergencies chief Fernando Simón said at a recent press conference that he is hopeful about relaxing the rule about the use of masks in outdoor spaces, as long as the safety distance of 1.5 meters can be guaranteed.

“It is very possible that in a few days the use of a mask outdoors can be reduced. Of course, always guaranteeing that the risks are decreasing,” he said.

However, Simón also added that “reducing one measure does not mean that the same should be done with all measures”. In addition, he asked citizens to go “step by step and be careful until we see the effects that mean we can relax the restrictions”.

Although this will be decided in the next few days Simón does not want anyone to “fall into false assurances”.

Face masks have been compulsory in public in Spain since May 21st 2020, and since March of this year, you are required to wear them in almost all indoor and outdoor settings, even if you’re sticking to the safety distance, unless the activity is incompatible with mask-wearing such as eating, drinking, sunbathing, running etc. 

Regions that could possibly relax restrictions on the use of masks outdoors

If the mask restrictions are relaxed by the government and the health authorities, the regions that could already qualify because of their low-to-medium risk epidemiological situations include Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Castilla La-Mancha, Extremadura, the Valencian region, Murcia, the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

Which regions are in favour of the move?

Both Catalonia and Galicia have said that they would be in favour of dropping the use of masks outdoors.

The Catalan government was one of the first regions to open the discussion on relaxing the use of masks outdoors.

According to Catalan Regional Health Secretary MarcRamentol, the Catalan government considers that with at least 30 percent of the population fully vaccinated and more than half of the population having received at least one dose, the matter is worth discussing. 

Not having to wear a mask outdoors will help the summer “feel more like 2019 than that of 2020”, said Ramentol.

President of the Xunta of Galicia Alberto Núñez Feijoo, said last week that he expects the use of masks outdoors will be abolished in July, however on Tuesday, May 18th at the Hotusa Group Tourism Innovation Forum in Madrid, he insisted that it is only “a matter of weeks”.

Although Valencia currently still has some strict rules in place, Regional President Ximo Puig has stated that he is in favour of the mask not being compulsory in open spaces. “We know that in open spaces there is a much lower possibility of contagion and I have been supporting this for a long time – it is not necessary to use the mask in some open spaces, natural spaces or on the beaches,” he said.

Which regions want to keep making masks compulsory in outdoor spaces

Regional authorities in Madrid and the Basque Country, the regions which the highest infection rates in Spain have criticised the national government’s position regarding masks, arguing that’s it’s too soon for masks to no longer be obligatory outdoors.

Andalusia is also against the proposal. Jesús Aguirre, Minister of Health and Families in Adalusia, has said that it would be a mistake since the mask is “the most powerful weapon” with which we have to avoid possible infections within the region.