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What we know so far about coronavirus in Spain

What we know so far about coronavirus in Spain
A fan wearing a mask during Champions League came at Real Madrid. Photo: AFP
A total of 25 people have now tested positive to COVID-19 in Spain. Here's what we know so far about the cases of the virus in Spain. (This article is not behind a paywall)

LATEST UPDATE: Coronavirus in Spain: How worried should you be?

There are now 31 active cases of coronavirus currently in Spain.

Who are they?

  • Three cases in Barcelona
  • Five cases in Madrid
  • Six cases in Andalucia
  • One case in Villarrealin, Castellon 
  • Four cases in Tenerife
  • One case in La Gomera, Canary Islands
  • Nine cases in Valencia
  • One in Valladolid
  • One in Segovia
  • One in Zaragoza
  • Two people diagnosed with the virus (one in the Canary Island of La Gomera and one in Mallorca) have since been given the all clear. 

This tweet from the Spanish Health Ministry shows the number of cases confirmed at 12 noon on Friday, by region (including the two early cases which have now been given the all clear). One more has been confirmed in Valencia since this tweet.

 

Most of the cases currently confirmed in Spain are either in Italians or people who travelled from northern Italy, where a large number of cases have been detected, before showing signs of the infection.

But not all.

Three people currently diagnosed with the virus have not travelled abroad in recent weeks or knowingly had contact with someone who had been in an outbreak zone.

Spanish health authorities said on Thursday that they were investigating the first suspected cases of local transmission of the deadly coronavirus in the country and are looking for “patients zero”.

Health emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon told a news conference.  “Their possible ties with cases outside of Spain, or imported cases are being investigated,” he said.

If it is confirmed that the disease is now spreading from person to person within Spain, the government would have to take extra measures to prevent further contagions, such as “reducing large gatherings”, Simon said.

One of the two suspected cases of local transmission in Madrid is a 77-year-old man in “serious” condition in an intensive care unit, the regional government of Madrid said in a statement.

The other is a 50-year-old man who is in “stable” condition.   

Local officials in the southern region of Andalusia reported Spain's first suspected case of local transmission of coronavirus on Wednesday in a 62-year-old man who is in isolation at a Seville hospital. Five more in Andalucia were confirmed on Friday.

“The fact that it has not been possible to determine where he became infected means the virus may have circulated for a while in Andalusia,” Simon said during an interview with radio Onda Cero earlier on Thursday.

Since the start of the epidemic Spain has recorded 23 cases of coronovirus, 21 since Monday.

On Tuesday three cases were confirmed in Barcelona, Villarrealin the Castellón province of Valencia and Madrid. And on Wednesday another three people tested positive to the virus, including the first confirmed case in Andalusia. 

Patients currently being treated for coronavirus are a 36-year-old Italian woman resident in Barcelona who returned to the city after a trip home to the region between Milan and Bergamo between the 12th and 22nd of February.

She is currently being treated at Barcelona’s Hospital Clinic Hotel and 25 people she came into contact with since coming back to Spain are under observation.

A second person in Barcelona tested positive for the virus on Wednesday morning. And a third on Thursday lunchtime. That patient, a 22-year old woman from Tenerife, arrived in Barcelona after a trip to Milan between 21st and 25th February.

READ MORE: 

A man has been admitted to hospital in La Plana de Villarreal in Castellon where he is in isolation after testing positive to coronavirus following a recent trip from Milan.

A 24-year-old in Madrid who also visited Italy and who is now being treated at the Carlos III hospital in the capital tested positive on Tuesday evening.

Another case was confirmed in Madrid on Wednesday morning, in a young person who had also just returned from a trip to northern Italy who went to Hospital Fundación Jiménez Díaz with flu-like symptoms before being transferred and admitted to Carlos III.. 

On Wednesday evening another case was confirmed in La Gomera, which was said to be unrelated to an earlier case on the island. The latest patient is a woman who had travelled to northern Italy between February 4th and 8th before returning to the island. 

On Thursday morning in Valencia, another case was confirmed by regional health authorities. They said a 44-year-old man had been admitted into Hospital Clínic Universitari de Valencia showing light symptoms and had tested positive.  It is understood he was a journalist who had recently made a trip to Milan to watch the Champions League.

It has since been confirmed that four other people connected to the journalist have also tested positive to the virus.

And another two cases have also been confirmed in Valencia, both patients who had recently returned from Milan.

In Valladolid, an Iranian engineer tested positive to the virus and a young Italian Erasmus student tested positive at a hospital in Segovia. It is understood both had recently flown in from their home countries.The number of cases in the Canary Islands grew to five after the wife of the Italian doctor and the two people who had accompanied them on holiday all tested positive and then another unrelated person tested positive in the neighbouring island of La Gomera.

The Italian doctor from Lombardy was the first on the island to be diagnosed on Monday, a fact which led to the lock down of the hotel where the group was staying.

A second patient was on Friday admitted to the ICU at the hospital in Torrejon after being the fifth confirmed case of the coronavirus in Madrid. He was described as a 66 year old and was said to be in a “serious condition”.

A 27-year old in Zaragoza became the latest confirmed case on Friday morning bringing the total to 25 cases. 

To curb the spread, Madrid has advised against travel in northern Italy and sought to identify other potential cases that may have slipped under the radar by testing those already in hospital with respiratory problems or returning from high-risk areas with flu-like symptoms.

How concerned should you be? 
 
On Wednesday the EU stressed that the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Europe is concerning but no reason for alarm.
 
“This is a situation of concern but we must not give in to panic,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told reporters in Rome after meeting Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
 
“We must also be vigilant when it comes to misinformation and disinformation as well as xenophobic statements which are misleading citizens and putting in question the work of public authorities,” she added.
 
It's important to remember that according to the World Health Organisation some 80 percent of those infected will only suffer mild symptoms. Some five percent end up in a critical condition.

What's happening at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel in Tenerife?


The hotel in Tenerife is still under lockdown. Photo: AFP

The four Italian tourists that have tested positive for coronavirus were all staying at the same hotel.

Guests there have been confined to the hotel but those that arrived on the island on Monday have been told they can leave, although there is still questions over whether they will be allowed to fly home.

Brits staying at the hotel, of which there are 168, have been told to get in touch with consular staff. British Ambassador in Madrid, Hugh Elliott recorded a message for them with all the contact details they need. 

British consular staff are assisting those affected by the hotel lockdown.

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

Other suspected cases?

Health authorities confirmed that widespread tests are being carried out on those who show symptoms of the coronavirus and who may have been in contact with or come from areas where the virus is prevalent. These are spread out across Spain and for the most part are in people who have recently returned from a trip to an area where there is a coronavirus outbreak, such as northern Italy.

READ MORE: 

Face masks sell out

Pharmacists across Spain have reported panic buying of face masks which have sold out in many establishments.

But a message of calm was issued by the Col·legi de Farmacèutics of Barcelona who insisted that facemasks were not necessary in healthy people and should only be used to prevent infectionif you suspect you are ill, or if you are assisting someone else who is ill.

Should I still travel to Spain?

There are no travel restrictions currently in place in Spain and unless you are booked to stay at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel on Tenerife, where guests are confined to their room, there is no currently need to change your plans. 

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Is it still safe to go on holiday in Tenerife?

 

Spain's Health Minister Salvador Illa late on Tuesday advised people not to travel to northern Italy and other global hotspots for the disease such as Wuhan in China, South Korea, Japan and Iran “unless it is essential”.

He also said all patients in Spanish hospitals with respiratory illnesses of “unknown causes” would undergo tests to see if they had coronavirus.

What should I do if I think I have symptoms of the coronavirus?

If you develop a fever, cough or have difficulty breathing either in Spain or within 14 days of travelling here and think you may have come in contact with someone who has been in a high risk area you need to seek medical advice immediately but without endangering others.

Do not go straight to a hospital or doctor's surgery. In Spain, call the government's coronavirus hotline on 061 for emergency advice.

If you're already back home, call your doctor and inform them that you recently travelled to Spain.

Until you've been tested for the virus, avoid further travel or contact with others.

According to the WHO, around 80 percent of people who contract the new coronavirus recover without needing special treatment.

Around 1 out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.

Only around 2 percent of people with the disease have died.

Finally…. Don't panic!

Authorities in Spain are above all urging people to remain calm. Joan Guix the secretary of public health in the Catalonia region reminded the public that coronavirus staged no great threat to healthy people. 

“Seasonal common flu is much more serious,” he told a press conference on Tuesday adding “In Catalonia we had 434 cases of hospitilaization of those with the flu resulting in 41 deaths.”

That message was reiterated by Pere Godoy, of the Spanish Society of Epidemiology.

“Coronavirus mortality is relatively low, between 2 and 3 percent and lower outside of China,” he said on Thursday, “And the transmissibility, although not negligible, is not explosive either. We will not see hospitals collapsed with thousands of patients. The Spanish health system is well prepared to face what is coming.”


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