In Tenerife

Welcome To Janet Anscombe in Tenerife

In real life, I am an ancient historian, and was a university lecturer in Classics & Ancient History specializing in rhetoric, law and politics before moving to Tenerife. I’ve been here now for ten years that have gone in an astonishing flash, after finding Higher Education had become little more than a processing factory for successful graduates who would be in debt for decades, or unsuccessful ones who were set up by the system to feel like abject failures after being encouraged to aspire to a level of education that was simply beyond them. Tenerife was our holiday home from home before 2004, and the obvious place to choose to retire. It is a sub-tropical haven with a pretty much year-round Spring climate and a language and culture both exotic and familiar. For anyone who wants to stay in Europe but in a place with a buzz, and who has rheumatoid arthritis, like me, and so needs steady humidity and kind temperatures, it is just about perfect.

I live with my husband in a tiny 200-year-old Canarian cottage on the edge of a mountain village a kilometer above the west coast. Our garden is full of flowers and trees, and lizards who now clearly consider us protection and food source combined. We have to resist constant demands for more egg mayonnaise, and shuffle them out of the way as they run at us for more banana now please! One thing I love about living at altitude is that we have seasons, something I think expatriates’ bodies simply need, and in Spring the air is heady with blossom scent from fruit and almond trees, and in autumn it’s a glorious relief to see autumnal colour and falling leaves while watching the mist rolling up the barranco like a steam train! Here’s a view from up here that I never tire of, looking out over the sea to the light show over La Gomera that is different every day. The “blessed isles”. Yes, indeed!

Over the last decade, I have spent quite a bit of my time indulging my interest in houses and homes, particularly interior design but also architecture – ancient architecture was always one of my favourite sidelines in work. My main fields, however, of rhetoric, law and politics have been the launchpad for considerable research into modern Spanish law and politics. If I see this website as having any function beyond that of personal enjoyment, it is as a source of advocacy for anyone thinking of moving here, or actually living here and struggling with bureaucracy and legalities. Ideally in such a place, people would be stress free and fulfilling their ideal of “living the dream”, but all too often it turns into a nightmare. I hope this site is helpful to anyone looking for accurate up-to-date information about what is happening here as well as a straightforward guide to the legalities and bureaucracy involved for resident and visiting foreigners, and their rights and responsibilities.

Please investigate the tabs across the top of the page. They lead to information and advice on being legal, owning property or living here – there are also a few private sales for those looking to buy property – as well as questions and answers on a wide range of related topcis. There are links to pages on everything from the rights of consumers generally to those of patients in the health service in particular, and from keeping dogs to donating a body to science! Under “Useful Stuff”, you’ll find some Spanish vocabulary, links to jobs available for English speakers, books written about Tenerife, essential places to visit, readers’ photos, how to stay safe in heat and water, and a full calendar of “what’s on” with links to detailed information about events.

Below on this page are the latest of regularly-updated posts about news and events; for earlier items, just look to the right and click on the main news link or on a particular date in the calendar  (just hover over a date and it will show you the posts made on that day). The right hand column also has buttons to “follow me” on Facebook, Twitter or by RSS feed; a search box to help locate news items or information of interest; links to recent comments made by readers (please do express opinions or ask questions – just click on individual headlines to find the comments box); and the latest news from the BBC and in English from El Pais. The final tab at the top of the page is to Links and Laws, a whole range of legal, official, practical and inspirational resources for anyone with an interest in this wonderful island I call home.

COPYRIGHT: Apart from press releases or where expressly stated otherwise, I have written every single word of text on this website myself. The entire content therefore belongs to me or the source I quote and the copyright is protected and reserved. Readers are welcome to take text without permission as long as they expressly name and provide a link to this site. If anyone wants to use anything without crediting me in this way, please ask first.


Latest news and events in Tenerife

Click HERE for the What’s On Diary

Concurso de tapas TAPEANDO ISORA

Update 22 October: The fifth ediction of Tapeando Isora will offer 29 specialities throughout six towns in the municipality. The tapas route begins this Friday, 24 October and ends on 16 November. During this three weeks residents and visitors will enjoy tapas and a drink for just €2.50. This tapas route is now getting a real name for itself, and marking Guía de Isora out as a centre of gastronomy in Tenerife. As usual, those following the ruta will be able to enter a prize draw by getting their card stamped by ten of the participating establishments and voting for their favourite. The event is organized, as usual, by the Ayuntamiento de Guía de Isora, and with collaboration from the municipality’s Asociación de Empresarios y Comerciantes,  the hotel IBH Bahía Flamingo, and  the Escuela Municipal de Deportes Náuticos. The list of participating establishments and the card for for voting is available HERE.

José Damián Bautista, owner of Futurama, winning restaurant of Tapeando Isora 2014. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Guía de Isora

José Damián Bautista, owner of Futurama, winning restaurant of Tapeando Isora 2014. Photo: Ayuntamiento de Guía de Isora

Update 6 May: And the winner is Cafeteria Futurama, in Guía de Isora. The restaurant is on the main road through the town, just past the post office and cultural centre, also on the left heading away from Adeje, and opposite the little Dialprix supermarket. Guía de Isora Ayuntamiento said that there was very high public participation in this tapas route and that it had been a great success.

Votes were counted in Alcalá’s notary in the presence of representatives from the Ayuntamiento, Guia’s Asociación de Empresarios y Comerciantes, and the Hotel Palacio de Isora. Futurama’s winning formula was a mini beefburger with peppers and black olive mayonnaise served with julienne potatoes. Once again, though, the real winner is the municipality of Guía de Isora, and the stylistic gastronomic flair for which the area is becoming rightly quite famous.

Update 19 March: Guía de Isora has now released the information pamphlet for Tapeando Isora, which starts on 28 March. The pamphlet also doubles as the competition form. Please click HERE to download, and HERE for full information on taking part.

Update 13 March 2014: Guía de Isora has announced the next tapas route competition, Tapeando Isora, the fourth time the event has run, with tapas and a small beer for just €2.50. Again there are prizes on offer for those who get stamps from the establishments taking part: the stamps are to be put on cards available from participating establishments, or in the Tourist Information Offices in Guía de Isora, Playa San Juan and Alcalá . Tapeando Isora is being held between 28 March and 20 April,  and on previous occasions has more than lived up to its promise of promoting Isoran hospitality and cuisine to a wider audience. Please click on the above poster for a slightly larger version.

Update 6 May: The Ayuntamiento has congratulated all the establishments for making Tapeando Isora 2013 a great success, and has announced the winners of the participants. Winner of the best traditional tapa was Los 5 Sentidos in Calle de Arriba in Guía de Isora itself, for its barquito de pulpo con aromas del monte, and for the most creative tapa, El Rincón de la Barriga in Calle Carero/Los Suspiros (opposite the Melía hotel) in Alcalá, for its Carpaccio de Pulpo!

Original post 22 March:  Guía de Isora is holding  its third tapas route, Tapeando Isora, with tapas and wine, beer or water for just €2.50. There are also prizes on offer for those who get ten stamps from the establishments taking part: the stamps are to be put on cards available from participating establishments, or in the Tourist Information Offices in Guía de Isora, Playa San Juan and Alcalá .

Tapeando Isora is being held between 28 March and 21 April, and is intended to promote the hospitality sector, and bring Isoran cuisine to a wider audience. There are 27 establishments taking part: for a complete list, and for further information about the event, please see HERE.


Adeje Fiestas Patronales 2014

Update 22 October: Adeje Ayuntamiento has confirmed that the following events postponed from last weekend as a result of the weather will now take place this weekend (weather permitting, but more rain is not expected):

  • Miss Sur Gala, Friday 24 October, 9.30pm, Plaza España
  • Verbena (street party) with ALTO  STANDING and SENSACIÓN GOMERA orchestras, Saturday 25 October, 10pm – 12 midnight Plaza España
  • Romería, Sunday 26 October, 1pm, Calle Grande (with a mass beforehand in the parish church and the Cattle fair at 10pm in the parking beside the main post office).

Update 18 October: As a result of the rain last night the open air Miss Sur contest scheduled to take place in the Plaza de España was suspended – a new date will be announced soon.

Given the forecast is for potentially bad weather this weekend, when a number of open air events are due to take place, the council is advising that the public may wish to check closer to the time of the main events to see if they are going ahead – at the moment there are no cancellations.

Clio O’Flynn will be posting updates on the Adeje English Time facebook page (link) on a regular basis, and any new updates will also be posted in Spanish in the Ayuntamiento de Adeje facebook page (link).

Original post 30 September: Adeje’s Fiestas Patronales start this Saturday, 4 October, and from next week there will be a whole range of events on offer until 19 October. The full list of events is HERE from the Ayuntamiento, and has been translated into English by Clio O’Flynn of Radio Sur Adeje English Time HERE - Clio says that timings are correct at the time of going to press and she will post any changes on the Adeje English Time Facebook page HERE. The “big” night, for most, will be Monday, 13 October, when there will be the traditional fiesta parade of the town’s icon of the Virgin Mary, followed by fireworks and entertainment. Adeje’s fiestas patronales end on the 19th with the local romería in Calle Grande, a traditional procession not to be missed.

Rambling through Ifonche and La Quinta

Under the Adele Together 10/10 campaign the department of the environment and sustainable development under councillor Esther Rivero Vargas, is organising a walk this Saturday, October 25th, called (translated) “Making the most of the forest”, which will take walkers from Ifonche, to el Aserradero and finally La Quinta.

The councillor remarked, “this initiative from the council was such that once the mountain walks in the borough had been regulated and signposted we would propose a series of alternative routes inviting people to get to know our natural zones and the mountain characteristics.” She said that “we wanted to develop more than just another rural walk, what we are doing here is showing off the indigenous elements of the area and the richness of our natural heritage; we hope that once people get to know the different protected zones of Adeje they will learn to enjoy and care for them”.

During the walk there will be two guides, Rafael Morales Siverio and Sebastián López Ramírez, who, says Rivero Vargas, will explain, “through their living testimonies and experiences, how and why these paths were used in the past”. (The guides will speak in Spanish). As well as getting to know the countryside, those participating will also experience the hospitality of residents of La Quinta and will be invited to take part in a tasting event in the patio of one of the homes of the neighbourhood. “The best way to learn the stories of pathways and their use in the past is from the people of the region”, the councillor added.

Ifonche – Aserradero – La Quinta
The walk should last about 6 hours and is listed as one of medium difficulty. Wear appropriate shoes or waterproof hiking boots, if possible high enough to protect ankles. You should also use sun protection and wear sun glasses and a hat. If you have a hiking stick, a waterproof jacket and energy foods (dry fruits, biscuits, etc) you should also bring them as well as water – 11/2 litres would be adequate.

If you would like to take part sign up at the Citizens Office – the SAC, in the main council building, and places are limited to 25.

Bather dies after drowning at Playa del Camisón

Update 21 October: If anyone was an eyewitness to this tragedy, please will you contact me, either through the Contact Me page or by email to Anyone who has already posted a comment below doesn’t need to because I’ve already sent an email.

Update 24 September: The poor man who died at Playa del Camisón has been identified by family in the comments below as Victor Goodwin, a British holidaymaker. The comments speak for themselves, and clearly there will be some coordinated action following this tragedy to get answers at the very least.

Original post 20 September: A 35-year-old man died shortly after 2pm this afternoon after drowning at Playa del Camisón in Los Cristianos. Emergency services were initially called out with reports from Arona Policía Local that a bather had disappeared at the beach, but after the poor man’s was found by bomberos, paramedics and beach lifeguards could do nothing other than confirm his death at the scene.

First rains of winter forecast for this weekend

Update 21 October: Forecasters say that as the storm moves away, it will be turning to bring winds in fron the south east, and this in turn will bring hot air from the Sahara. We are going to have a mini heatwave tomorrow, they say, with temperatures in the high 20ºs or even around the 30º mark, higher in the medianías where they could reach 34ºC. As with the rain, the north east Anaga area is expected to be worst affected. Winds are forecast to be around 50km/h. As always with calimas, anyone with respiratory conditions should take extra care. 

Update 10pm: The education department has confirmed that CEIP Almácigo, La Cumbrita y Teobaldo Power, all three in the Guía de Isora area, and CEIP Alfonso X in Güímar will be closed because of storm damage, but apart from these, all others are open as normal.

Copyright: Stewart Kirby

Copyright: Stewart Kirby

Update 3.15pm: Apparently there are many rumours about schools being closed tomorrow. The Canarian government’s education department has said within the last couple of hours that they are assessing the situation this afternoon as to damage and access. Any closure will be announced officially, but at present, schools will open tomorrow.

Update 3pm: Here is the current state of Playa San Juan, complete with car which was washed over the edge of a car park, into the barranco, and down onto the beach. The worst is now over, however, and apart from a few showers now, looks to be clearing up over the next 24 hours

Update 1.45pm: The storm has claimed a fatality. A 56-year-old woman has died in Avda Venezuela in the La Salud area of Santa Cruz after being swept away by flood waters. She appears to have been swept under a vehicle where she was trapped, and subsequently suffered a heart attack.

Photo: Canarias Emergencias

Photo: Canarias Emergencias

Photo: Canarias Emergencias

Photo: Canarias Emergencias

Update 1pm: And again poor Playa San Juan’s beach gets it. What does it take? Meanwhile, parts of La Laguna have been without electricity for some hours, and Santa Cruz is pretty much under water: Avda 3 Mayo is closed to traffic after being inundated near the petrol station, and videos abound on social media of cars being swept away as the roads on which they were parked turn into rivers.

Graphic: Aemet

Graphic: Aemet

Update 19 October: It was ten minutes late! Serious rains started at 6.10 this morning, and Aemet has raised the alert for all the western islands today to orange. Drivers are advised to avoid access roads to Teide because of ice, and to take care in what is exceptionally foggy weather in some parts. Police say drivers should use their headlights in all circumstances.

The heavy rain is expected to last until around 9pm, being particularly heavy between midday and 2pm, and continuing more lightly tomorrow, when a yellow alert remains in place. So far there are no real incidents other than a boat which was set on fire in Santa Cruz harbour after being struck by lightning. Two people are said to have suffered light injuries in the incident.

Apart from that, there is little more at present than reports of some floodings and trees down, and a few cases where traffic lights have been struck by lightning and stopped functioning: again, police call for caution when out and about.

Update 17 October: The rain is somewhat more certain today with Aemet raising a yellow alert for up to 15mm per hour between 6am and 6pm on Sunday in Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera.

Update 16 October: As part of the weather system, it seems, there are already rough seas coming our way, so much so that Los Realejos Ayto has announced that Playa Socorro has been closed. The same weather system is already giving rise to Aemet alerts on the mainland: in Galicia the highest alert, red, has been issued for very heavy rains this afternoon. As far as next Sunday’s forecast for the Canaries is concerned, there is no new update other than moderate to heavy, possibly very heavy, rains are likely, particularly in the western islands.

Original post 15 October: The first rains of winter 2014-15 could be with us this weekend, if meteorologists are right in thinking that an Atlantic system will bring a storm our way on Sunday. Although no doubt there will be updated forecasts over the next few days. stormy weather with heavy to very heavy rain will affect the Canaries, particularly the western islands, on Sunday.

Canarian referendum on oil prospecting will be held on 23 November

Update 21 October: Genel Energy says that it has found oil in the Sidi Musa-1 field off the Moroccan coast. The company says that the oil is at a depth of 2,825m and it will now proceed to isolate and check pressure, permeability and productive capacity. Technically, therefore, this sounds like an early announcement, but oil there is. And being just 200km from the Canaries that, it is likely to be a real boost to those who say Spanish exploration should proceed in order to get the maximum economic benefits for the country generally, and the Canaries specifically because there will be prospecting near here regardless of what Spain decides or the Canaries thinks.

Update 19 October: Estimates of numbers vary, as always, but it does seem that around 21,000 attended the demonstrations in total, comprising 4,000 in Tenerife, 6,000 in Gran Canaria, 8,000 in Lanzarote (a huge number for the island which most expects to be affected), 2,000 in Fuerteventura, 415 in La Gomera, 250 in La Palma, and 150 in El Hierro, and 100 in La Graciosa.

Just to clarify, the numbers quoted come from the government, which was fully behind the call for the demonstration, so they are not going to be downplaying these figures! There are some sources quoting higher numbers, but on this occasion I think the government’s figures are accurate because they have no reason to downplay them, and indeed every reason to talk them up.

Update 12 October: The popular no campaign “Movimiento Ciudadano Contra Las Prospecciones” has called a Canaries-wide protest for 18 October. The locations for gatherings are shown in the poster above: in Tenerife, this is Parque García Sanabria in Santa Cruz. The no campaign’s “Save Canarias” website is HERE, and it also has a Facebook page HERE. If nothing else, it will be interesting to see the level of protest which turns out on the 18th across the archipelago.

Update 2 October: It was only yesterday that Industria minister José Manuel Soria said that it was still not absolutely clear what the regional government was intending. Well it is now. Canarian president Paulino Rivero has announced today that the referendum will take place on 23 November, and that anyone legally resident in the Canaries, over 16 years old and on a local authority padron, will be able to vote in answer to the question “¿Cree usted que Canarias debe cambiar su modelo medioambiental y turístico por las prospecciones de gas o petróleo?”

The question is phrased as an either/or: “Do you think that the Canaries should change its environmental and tourism model for gas or oil drilling”. In other words, the two models are presented as antithetical, which of course is the government’s stance, that oil prospecting will destroy tourism.

Despite President Rivero’s argument that the vote is entirely legal and constitutional since it is framed within the ambit of 2010′s Ley de Participación Ciudadana, and despite the fact that it appears clearly to be a plebiscite rather than a referendum, Madrid says that it is going to refer the vote to the Constitutional Court. Soría said only yesterday that the national government would take action – as it would in any other area – if the Canarian Parliament passed a motion for an unconstitutional measure. Clearly there is not even agreement on what a constitutional vote is.

Update 1 October: Plebiscite or no,  oil exploration will start around the end of November, Industria minister José Manuel Soria said on breakfast television. On the issue of Madrid’s stance on the “referendum”, Soría said that it was still not absolutely clear what the regional government was intending, but if the Canarian Parliament passed a motion for an unconstitutional referendum, the national government would take action – as it would in any other area.

Thoughts mught turn to the current major controversy about the proposed independence referendum planned in Catalonia, with the government saying that this weeks ruling from the top Constitutional Court that such a referendum would be illegal could end result in the regional president being sent to prison. Could the same happen in the Canaries? Is this why lame duck President Rivero is calling for a plebiscite, rather than a referendum proper?

Oil exploration, anyway, is set to start regardless of the politics, with Soría saying that Spain’s unemployment figures and poverty levels do not allow the luxury of the country turning its back on such an opportunity.

Update 4 September: Canarian president Paulino Rivero has announced in parliament this morning that the “consulta popular” on oil prospecting will take place before 30 November. The vote will not be a referendum, but a plebiscite, since it will not be legally binding but is intended to determine the opinion of Canarian residents. Even so, Madrid has forbidden it, but the vote will go ahead, says Sr Rivero, regardless.

Update 11 April: As expected, Madrid has now debated and formally vetoed Canarian President Paulino Rivero’s plans for a referendum, saying it would be unconstitutional, and therefore illegal. In response, Coalicion Canaria’s Claudina Morales accused Industria minister Soría of acting out of nothing but sheer self interest. She said in Parliamentary session that Soría knew he would never now be Canarian president, that his conservative party would lose the next general election, and that he was therefore  feathering his nest and setting up future employment with Repsol, the company set to carry out the exploration and drilling.

In the face of demands for her to retract her words, she was backed up by nationalist group leader José Miguel Barragán. Feelings are running high on both sides, but the end result will be that any referendum that the Canaries might yet hold will be deemed not just illegal but also constitutionally disobedient, and would run the risk of Madrid taking legal action against the islands.

Original post 12 February: A huge row has blown up between the Canaries and Madrid over oil prospecting off the eastern islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. The president of the Canaries, Paulino Rivero, has proposed a referendum in these islands as to whether oil exploration by Repsol should proceed. The national government, however, and in particular the Industry minister, José Manuel Soria, himself a Canarian, has said that such a referendum would be illegal because the decision on whether to go ahead is not within the jurisdiction of the Canaries – the people or their government.

Canarian minister Fernando Ríos has retorted by supporting the regional president, saying that the proposed consultative exercise is “legal and profoundly democratic” because it is backed by national laws governing autonomous regions, as well as the Spanish constitution itself, and Canarian government legislation. Sr Rios said said that minister Soria’s comments are nothing but an attempt to shore up support for the national government, and to deny the Canarians – of whom he is one – a voice.

Some will no doubt see the Canarian president as posturing for political gain given that he has been losing support for his re-election bid in his own party, while others will welcome any attempt to get the region a say in something that many see as a vital issue for the Canaries. It would indeed be interesting to see whether the Canaries as a political voice would be swayed more by environmental arguments than economic ones. Whether the people will have a chance to express that view is another matter entirely.


Ebola: the current situation

Update 9pm: The second test carried out on the Tenerife nurse is also negative. His symptoms were therefore clearly the result of the malaria for which he tested  positive. The nurse’s family will now be released from isolation, and the nurse himself can be treated purely for the malaria. There is no ebola in Tenerife. There never was.

Update 20 October: After a few days when things looked very bleak for Spanish nurse Teresa Romero, latest tests after days of slight improvement show that she is now ebola free though still in isolation at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital. As with the Tenerife nurse with malaria, a second test is required to confirm the result. Teresa Romero contracted the disease when she was involved in the care of the Spanish priest and missionary who themselves died of ebola, and became a national cause when her dog Excalibur was put down.

Teresa’s husband, Javier Limón, himself still ebola free though still in isolation, released a video yesterday in which he expressed his delight at her recovery, and his fury at the situation in which the family has been placed. He says he will not rest until he has exposed the “gran chapuza” (great cock-up) which Spain has presented as “management” of the ebola situation. He is not alone in expressing anger at the attempts to attribute blame for the contraction of the disease to the nurse herself while staff were equipped with ill-fitting and inadequate protective clothing, and “isolation” wards were protected by no more than corridors roped off with police tape and no entry signs.

Update 19 October: Over the last few days, there has been something approaching hysteria here at times. We are still awaiting final confirmation that the “Tenerife ebola case” is not ebola at all, but the initial test has come back negative, and in fact the nurse who is ill has tested positive anyway for malaria. It is almost certain, to be confirmed over the next 48 hours or so, that we do not have a single case of ebola in the Canaries, let alone Tenerife.

And yet last evening I heard of several instances where people were cancelling flights or holidays to Tenerife, where people thought Tenerife was “dangerous”, where they thought they could catch ebola because we were close to Africa … and after deciding to post on the subject, find as I’m about to do so that a post has even been made in the meantime on this website by someone who is cancelling a holiday here for the same fears.

Let us be clear. Ebola is not airborne. It cannot waft over from Africa. There are no direct flights with affected countries, and in fact, in the last 24 hours Senegal itself has been declared ebola-free by the World Health Organization since there have been no new cases there for the last 42 days, which is twice the maximum incubation period for ebola. Moreover, as a result of coordination and cooperation between west African countries, Spain and the EU, there are significantly successful patrols for immigrant boats and the journey on cayuco or patera is in any case longer than the incubation period so there are not hordes of illegals wandering round infecting everyone while appearing healthy.

Assuming, with perfectly justifiable confidence, that the second test on the malaria patient who has already tested negative for ebola confirms that result, there has not been one single confirmed case in the islands as a whole, let alone Tenerife specifically. This is not a disease to be taken lightly, but I personally would consider myself safer here than in international transport hubs like mainland Europe, the UK, or the USA. There is absolutely no travel alert or warning or concern about Tenerife or the Canaries issued by any one of the many international health organizations who might be considered to know exactly the extent and nature of this ebola outbreak, and so absolutely no reason to avoid travel to these islands.

Update 11.30am: There is some controversy over the identification in some press (e.g. El Día, La Opinion) of the man who has now tested negative for ebola. Only yesterday Sanidad refused to give his details because he had not authorised publicity, but today, he has been named, and a photo published. I personally think it is enough to say that he is a nurse from Tenerife who has worked in Sierra Leone, and who has tested positive for malaria. The second test for ebola, which is expected to confirm the first negative analysis, should come within the next 72 hours.

Update 17 October: The first of two analyses for the suspected case of ebola in Tenerife have returned negative results. Hospital sources say that the patient remains in isolation, as do his two contacts, but that his fever had already started to reduce yesterday.

Update 4.30pm: Canarian government health minister Brígida Mendoza and deputy health minister Juana M Reyes have given a press conference in which they said that the protocol was activated in a Sanidad “crisis committee” at 1.30pm to allow the fever to be investigated, not because this is a confirmed case of ebola. Mendoza said that she wanted to send a message of tranquility, and that the government’s priority was the person under investigation (Sanidad does not want to use the word “patient” at this stage) and the health professionals involved in his care.

Reyes said that health service confidentiality meant that they could not release the man’s details without authorization, though Mendoza did confirm that he was feverish with a sore throat: he would be in an incubation period, she said, if the illness were confirmed as ebola. She also said that he had had two direct contacts in his dwelling here who are now themselves under observation. The medical staff who accompanied the man from his home were wearing hazmat garments, and he is now under investigation in a three-room isolation unit in Candelaria hospital designed according to the protocol for the assessment of possible ebola cases.

Reyes said that there have already been phone calls from worried patients asking for appointments at Candelaria hospital to be changed, and Mendoza called on the public to be calm and to have confidence in the health service, and to make responsible use of the health service public number 012 and emergency number 112.

Update 16 October: The Canarian health department, Sanidad, says that it has activated its protocol for ebola after a man who left Sierra Leone on 8 October and arrived in Tenerife on Sunday 12th has now presented with a fever. The man is said to have a temperature of 37.7º and is being treated in isolation in Candelaria hospital under the terms and conditions of the protocol after being collected from his home. Candelaria hospital is said to be carrying out detailed analytical tests which will be sent to the Instituto de Salud Carlos III in Madrid, with results expected in around 24 hours. Sanidad says that health professionals are prepared for these types of situations, and asked the public to be calm and confident in the authorities. A press conference will be given around 4pm.

Update 10 October: The national health system Interterritorial Council which Canarian government spokesman Martín Marrero referred to yesterday has resulted in management of Spain’s response to the ebola situation being wrested from the control of beleaguered health minister Ana Mato, and given to deputy prime minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, who will head a new committee formed by representatives from the ministries of Defense, Interior, Presidency, Economy and Justice, together with a representative from both the Madrid regional health department and Carlos III hospital, plus the president of the Scientific Committee for Ebola.

The committee will be supported by a group of scientific advisers, and Sáenz de Santamaría said that it was a flexible council which would allow more experts to be brought in as and when needed. She added that apart from management of the situation in Spain, the commission will be responsible for providing more information to the public. Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy himself visited the hospital where Teresa Romero, the Spanish nurse with ebola, is apparently increasingly ill. She is reportedly receiving the experimental ZMapp vaccine, but is said now to be unable to breathe unaided.

Update 9 October:  No doubt partly as a result of the situation as it has developed over the last few days in Madrid, and evident widespread concern over the spread of the disease, regional government spokesman Martín Marrero held a press conference today to assure the public that the Canarian authorities are “sufficiently prepared” in terms of both equipment and information to deal with any possible cases of ebola in these islands. Marrero said that health personnel had been trained in a specific protocol for ebola involving multiple exercise drills both in health facilities and medical transport, both air and land.

Marrero added that apart from this training and equipment supply, the Canarian authorities had established an epidemiological vigilance system, the archipelago being the first autonomous region to do this in Spain. The round-the-clock system provides for instant notification of alerts of any symptoms detected in the islands. The minister expressed his satisfaction with a national health system Interterritorial Council which will be held tomorrow in Madrid, and said that the Canaries had been calling for such a meeting since last month.

Update 6.15pm: Despite the protester and police presence, Excalibur has been removed from the apartment in a UCM van; UCM is the Universidad Complutense de Madrid where the vet facility is. The health department, Sanidad, has issued a statement saying that the resolution which indicated the dog’s euthanasia has been complied with”. It really does seem that Excalibur has been put to sleep. 

Update 3pm: As so often, there is utter confusion now, with some sources saying that Excalibur was put to sleep at 2.30pm according to the legal order, with others saying that a last-minute second appeal has been submitted to save him. There is no official word on this, and some suspect that the government doesn’t want to have to tell people that the dog has actually been put down. The Spanish authorities might one day understand that a clear and definitive statement, even if negative, will do it far less harm in the long term than obfuscation and silence.

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Update 8 October: The last 48 hours have seen an incredible controversy and mobilization of public opinion over Excalibur, the dog belonging to the nurse confirmed with ebola. The Spanish health authorities announced that the dog would have to be put down, and a petition (HERE) now has over 300,000 signatures from people demanding that he should instead be put in quarantine, or isolation, rather than killed.

Excalibur has, however, now been removed from his home after a judicial order from the Juzgado de lo Contencioso-Administrativo número 1 de Madrid allowed forced entry. He has been taken to a veterinary centre in the capital where his future is still uncertain. Some see the fact that he is there as evidence that the government is backing down, whereas others fear it will be the place where he is put to sleep.

The issue has now become global, with CNN reporting it; protesters have gathered to demonstrate outside the apartment where the couple lived with the dog – police are pictured with batons raised breaking up what they are calling a riot, but which from the photos published, and the above video, looks like a peaceful protest;

Meanwhile, a third Spanish nurse is now in isolation in Madrid, bringing the total with suspected ebola to 5.

Update 7 October: Over the last couple of months, a Spanish priest, Miguel Pajares, and missionary, Manuel García Viejo, died from ebola after being repatriated from Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively, where they had contracted the disease. The priest was the first European to die in this current outbreak.

There was a fright last month in Tenerife when a Nigerian who had been arrested developed a fever and a nose bleed. Police isolated him and called in the health authorities. They thankfully said that it was not ebola; they also said that there was nothing about it that could really have indicated ebola, but it shows how alert and very aware of the situation the police here are.

Back on the mainland, over the last couple of days a nurse who was involved in treating the priest and missionary at Madrid’s La Paz-Carlos III hospital has herself been confirmed as having contracted ebola. Spain has activated its emergency protocol and she is now in isolation. The authorities say that this is the first known instance of transmission outside of Africa itself. As of today, the EU has demanded an explanation from Spain as to how the contamination was possible, but meanwhile, her husband has also been taken into isolation in hospital though he is not said to be displaying symptoms. In addition, a second nurse and a Nigerian patient, both with symptoms, are also in isolation in the same hospital.

Original post 30 July: I’ve had now quite a few emails expressing concern and requesting information about the Canaries’ proximity to Africa and the current outbreak of ebola there, so thought it was time to post on the situation.

Fernando Simón, director of Spain’s Health Department’s Alerts and Health Emergencies Coordination Centre, has said that a national protocol has been in place since March to coordinate the regional governments’ responses to a possible ebola outbreak, and to monitor ports, airports and the country’s borders.

To date nine possible cases have been intercepted, two of which became “suspected”, and in the event neither was ebola, though one of these two activated the emergency protocol in the Valencian autonomous community at the end of June. Luis Enjuanes, virologist at the National Biotechnology Centre said, indeed, that although no guarantees can be given that ebola will not arrive at Europe, the disease is not airborne, which means that its propagation through direct physical contact will be restricted and localized, giving enough time for specific control measures to be put in place upon identification.

One main concern from those who’ve written to me is the risk of infection from illegal immigrants. Again, Fernando Simón seeks to reassure, saying that there aren’t any boat arrivals to speak of these days, but the occupants of those which do arrive are “subjected to a protocol”. Equally as important, the journeys undertaken normally last a sufficient time for symptoms to be showing by the time of the crafts’ arrival in Spanish territory.

These symptoms are flu-like (fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headaches) in the initial stages, which can take up to three weeks to become evident. This is followed by sickness and diarrhoea, and subsequent deterioriation of internal organs along with haemorrhage from orifices including eyes, nose and ears, and under the skin. Needless to say medical advice should be taken immediately if there is any suspicion at all of infection, but do let us try to keep this in proportion.

At present there is no suspected, let alone confirmed, case in Spain. Arrival is unlikely, not least because there is no direct air link between Spain and the countries in Africa currently affected. Should it arrive, contagion would be restricted and localized. Illegal immigrants are few and would likely be showing symptoms on arrival, and even if not, themselves become part of a protocol. And there is already a national protocol in place coordinating Spain’s response and ongoing monitoring of the situation where the disease is active.

BBC wrongly reports 5 deaths in yesterday’s rain

The BBC is reporting five deaths in yesterday’s storm (link). This is wrong. There were indeed five deaths from a storm in Tenerife: in 2002. Yesterday, there was one, or maybe two depending on interpretation.

HERE is the Guardian article from the time. HERE is the Daily Mail article, also from the time, but showing the date the article is viewed, whenever that might be. The key clue might have been the mention of Santa Cruz mayor “Zerolo”, who was replaced by José Manuel Bermúdez in 2011. There have been rumours for some time that the BBC just takes its news now from the Daily Mail. This mistake – common amongst googlers but unprofessional in the extreme from a major news organization – suggests that those rumours were true after all.

Yesterday’s storms claimed one life. That of a woman in Santa Cruz who was swept away by floodwater and trapped under a car where she suffered a heart attack before paramedics could reach her. A German swimmer also died in La Gomera despite efforts to drag him out of the water and resuscitate him – though whether this can genuinely be described as “storm-related” is questionable in my own opinion. One death, two if the German swimmer’s is included. Not five.

ExpoComercio in Alcalá Saturday 18 October

Guía de Isora has announced a commercial fair to be held in Alcalá tomorrow in the town’s Plaza del Llano. As the following photo shows, everything is almost ready to welcome shoppers. The fair will be open to the public between 10am and 6pm.

Photo: Ayto Guía de Isora

Photo: Ayto Guía de Isora

Bells for bags – the winter thieves are back

There has been the usual raft of complaints about pickpockets who seem to descend on Tenerife each autumn in readiness to target the more elderly visitors we get over the winter months. Over the last week or so, reports of bag and purse thefts in Mercadona stores, including the new one in CC Parque Santiago 6 in El Camisón, have abounded.

Now, the South Tenerife British Lions have produced anti theft bells which apparently have a very firm fan base! They are being sold for €1 in their shops in the Apolo Centre, Los Cristianos, and Las Gaviotas, Costa del Silencio. Bells or not, take extra care right now with personal belongings: this is an annual occurrence and the thieving misery-makers are back in force.

Janet Anscombe
Tenerife News
October 2014
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