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Coronavirus: Quarantine at Tenerife hotel partially lifted but Jet2 guests still stranded

Health authorities on the Canary Island partially lifted quarantine on Thursday evening at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel which has been under lockdown since Monday when the first of four Italian guests tested positive to COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Quarantine at Tenerife hotel partially lifted but Jet2 guests still stranded
This isn't the holiday guests at the H10 Costa Palace Adeje hotel were expecting. Photo: Desiree Martin/ AFP

Authorities determined that around 130 tourists and some members of staff should be allowed to leave after testing negative.

It is understood that these are guests who arrived on Monday after the Italian guest and his group were already in isolation and therefore couldn’t have had direct contact with them. 

However, Jet2 the holiday group responsible for many of the newly liberated guests has said it will not fly them home until they have tested negative after the 14 day incubation period.

The holidaymakers have reportedly been told they can instead remain at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel for the whole of a two-week quarantine period and then Jet2 will allow them to fly home on one of its planes.

An FCO spokesperson told The Local. “We are urgently seeking clarification from the Canary Island authorities following their announcement that 130 tourists of different nationalities will be granted permission to leave the Costa Adeje Palace Hotel. We continue to offer support to all British nationals at the hotel.” 

Around 800 guests have been holed up in the hotel since Monday night after an Italian doctor from Lombardy tested positive to coronavirus at a private clinic on the island.

His wife and then two other guests who were travelling with them were confirmed with the virus on Tuesday.

On Tuesday guests were confined to their rooms with scant information and sandwich delivery to their doors.


But they have since been allowed to wander around the hotel and visit the pool area and dining room but cannot leave the complex.

They have been issued with surgical gloves and thermometers and told to monitor their temperature twice daily.

Officials have said none of the 700 have yet shown symptoms of the respiratory illness.

Among the guests are 168 British nationals who are being offered assistance by consular staff.

“We are offering advice and support to a number of British people in a hotel in Tenerife, and their families,” confirmed a foreign office spokesman.

“Our staff are in close contact with the hotel management and the Spanish authorities, have written to all British guests, and are in touch with anyone identified as vulnerable or in need.” 

Any British nationals who need support should contact the British Consulate in Tenerife on 0034 928 262 508.

There has been no talk of offering repatriation flights at this stage.

Prof Yvonne Doyle, Medical Director, Public Health England, said: 

“Public Health England has sent a health protection specialist to Tenerife to work with the Spanish authorities to better understand the public health measures that have been put in place in the hotel. This includes understanding spread of the virus within the hotel and how the Spanish authorities are monitoring the situation.”

Meanwhile, one of two new cases of COVID-19 in the UK is from Derbyshire and had recently returned from a holiday in Tenerife.

What's the situation in the rest of Spain? 

There are currently 23 confirmed cases across Spain with health authorities investigating the country's first suspected cases of locally-transmitted coronavirus infections – as in those patients who have tested postive but have not travelled outside of Spain in recent weeks to an outbreak zone. 

Above all, authorities are urging people to remain calm and to wash their hands frequently and properly, which is the best way to prevent the spread of infection.

“Mortality from the coronavirus is relatively low, between 2 and 3 percent” Pere Godoy, the president of the Spanish Epidemiology Society told El Pais. “Its transmissibility, while not negligible, is also not explosive. We’re not going to see hospitals overwhelmed with thousands of sick people. The Spanish health system is amply prepared to deal with whatever is coming.”


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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.