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HEALTH

Tenerife hotel remains on lockdown after four Italian guests test positive to coronavirus

Around 1,000 guests are under lock down in a hotel in southern Tenerife after an Italian doctor on holiday there became the third confirmed case of Covid-19 in Spain.

Tenerife hotel remains on lockdown after four Italian guests test positive to coronavirus
The H10 Costa Adeje Palace is under lockdown. Photo: AFP

His wife also tested positive to the coronavirus, authorities confirmed on Tuesday afternoon. And the two people also on holiday with them were confirmed to have developed the virus on Tuesday evening.

Canary Island heath authorities activated emergency protocol on Monday evening after it was confirmed that the doctor who had been holidaying on the island since last week tested positive.

He visited a private health clinic on Monday afternoon reporting flu-like symptoms and staff immediately raised the alarm because he was from Lombardy in northern Italy, where the outbreak of coronavirus has seen more than 220 people test positive and caused seven deaths.

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Guests are isolated at the H10 Hotel Adeje Palace in the south of Tenerife. Photo: AFP

He is now being treated in Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria Hospital on the island along with his wife who was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Tuesday afternoon after initially  testing negative when she was admitted with her husband.

The regional president of the Canary Islands confirmed the news in a tweet late on Monday stating: “In the afternoon / evening protocol was activated over suspected coronavirus in an Italian citizen in the south of Tenerife. Initial tests carried out in the Canary Islands proved positive: tomorrow they will be done again in Madrid. The patient is isolated and protocol activated.”

 

 


The H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel has been quarantined. Photo: H10hotels.com

The Italian had been staying at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace which is following emergency measures and has placed all guests under quarantine, with no-one being allowed to enter or leave the hotel, which has been cordoned off by police, according to the Diario de Avisos, a Tenerife-based newspaper.

According to one guest at the hotel, a note was pushed under the door of each room advising guests to stay in their rooms. 

It read: “Dear Guests, We regret to inform you that for healthy (sic) reasons, the hotel has been closed down. Until the sanitary authorities warn, you must remain in your rooms.”

The hotel chain released a statement a statement on Tuesday lunchtime:

 

 

But authorities were careful to say that guests were not “under quarantine” at the 467 room hotel.

“Hundreds of hotel clients are being monitored for health reasons and the degree of supervision will be assessed during the day, but so far, we're not talking about quarantine,” health authority spokeswoman Veronica Martin told AFP.

Footage from local TV news shows police surrounding the hotel while guests watch from hotel windows. 

 

The all-inclusive hotel is located by the sea in the southwest of the island and has two outdoor pools as well as a heated indoor pool. 

A dedicated phone line for coronavirus enquiries has been set up by Spain's health ministry with the number 900 112 061.

The British Embassy in Madrid confirmed that they were in contact with British guests in the hotel. 

“Our staff are offering advice and support to a number of British people in a hotel in Tenerife, and their families.  We are in close contact with the hotel management and the Spanish authorities, and seeking further information,” a spokesperson told The Local.

This is the third case of coronavirus confirmed in Spain but both other patients have now been given the all clear.

The first case confirmed in Spain was on the Canary Island of La Gomera where a German tested positive on arrival after coming in contact with a person back home in Germany who subsequently confirmed as suffering from the virus.

The tourist was given the all clear and discharged from hospital after two weeks and the five others in his group who were isolated in case of contagion did not develop the virus.

The other confirmed case was of a British man in Mallorca who had been among a group of skiers at a chalet in France infected by a businessman who had caught the virus on a trip to Singapore.

The man, a father of two was isolated at Palma's Son Espases hospital but discharged last week.  

A group of 21 Spaniards who were caught in the Chinese city of Wuhan, at the epicenter of the Covid-19 epidemic, had been flown home on January 31st and spent 14 days quarantined at a Madrid military hospital but have since also been discharged.

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COVID-19

Spain rules out EU’s advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 

Spain’s Health Ministry said Thursday there will be no mandatory vaccination in the country following the European Commission’s advice to Member States to “think about it” and Germany’s announcement that it will make vaccines compulsory in February.

Spain rules out EU's advice on compulsory Covid-19 vaccination 
A Spanish man being vaccinated poses with a custom-made T-shirt showing Spain's chief epidimiologist Fernando Simón striking a 'Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood' pose over the words "What part of keep a two-metre distance don't you understand?' Photo: José Jordan

Spain’s Health Minister Carolina Darias on Thursday told journalists Covid-19 vaccines will continue to be voluntary in Spain given the “very high awareness of the population” with regard to the benefits of vaccination.

This follows the words of European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday, urging Member States to “think about mandatory vaccination” as more cases of the Omicron variant are detected across Europe. 

READ ALSO: Is Spain proving facts rather than force can convince the unvaccinated?

“I can understand that countries with low vaccine coverage are contemplating this and that Von der Leyen is considering opening up a debate, but in our country the situation is absolutely different,” Darias said at the press conference following her meeting with Spain’s Interterritorial Health Council.

According to the national health minister,  this was also “the general belief” of regional health leaders of each of Spain’s 17 autonomous communities she had just been in discussion with over Christmas Covid measures. 

READ MORE: Spain rules out new restrictions against Omicron variant

Almost 80 percent of Spain’s total population is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, a figure which is around 10 percent higher if looking at those who are eligible for the vaccine (over 12s). 

It has the highest vaccination rate among Europe’s most populous countries.

Germany announced tough new restrictions on Thursday in a bid to contain its fourth wave of Covid-19 aimed largely at the country’s unvaccinated people, with outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel speaking in favour of compulsory vaccinations, which the German parliament is due to vote on soon.

Austria has also already said it will make Covid-19 vaccines compulsory next February, Belgium is also considering it and Greece on Tuesday said it will make vaccination obligatory for those over 60.

But for Spain, strict Covid-19 vaccination rules have never been on the table, having said from the start that getting the Covid-19 jabs was voluntary. 

There’s also a huge legal implication to imposing such a rule which Spanish courts are unlikely to look on favourably. 

Stricter Covid restrictions and the country’s two states of alarm, the first resulting in a full national lockdown from March to May 2020, have both been deemed unconstitutional by Spain’s Constitutional Court. 

READ ALSO: Could Spain lock down its unvaccinated or make Covid vaccines compulsory?

The Covid-19 health pass to access indoor public spaces was also until recently consistently rejected by regional high courts for breaching fundamental rights, although judges have changed their stance favouring this Covid certificate over old Covid-19 restrictions that affect the whole population.

MAP: Which regions in Spain now require a Covid health pass for daily affairs?

“In Spain what we have to do is to continue vaccinating as we have done until now” Darias added. 

“Spaniards understand that vaccines are not only a right, they are an obligation because we protect others with them”.

What Spanish health authorities are still considering is whether to vaccinate their 5 to 11 year olds after the go-ahead from the European Medicines Agency, with regions such as Madrid claiming they will start vaccinating their young children in December despite there being no official confirmation from Spain’s Vaccine Committee yet.

READ MORE: Will Spain soon vaccinate its children under 12?

Spain’s infection rate continues to rise day by day, jumping 17 points up to 234 cases per 100,000 people on Thursday. There are now also five confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the country, one through community transmission.

Hospital bed occupancy with Covid patients has also risen slightly nationwide to 3.3 percent, as has ICU Covid occupancy which now stands at 8.4 percent, but the Spanish government insists these figures are “almost three times lower” than during previous waves of the coronavirus pandemic.

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