Photo: Adeje Ayuntamiento.
NB: The Canaries moves into Phase 2 of the estado de alarma de-escalation process on Monday 25 May: please see HERE for details. If you feel at risk or infected first use the online test HERE then for further help if needed ring the free multi-lingual helpline 900 112 061. For general info use the Canarian authorities’ websites/official social media. Use 112 only for emergencies.
Updated 26 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show five more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,329. Thankfully we have no further fatalities so the total of deaths remains at 158. Recoveries are up 36 to 1,832 and our active cases are therefore down to 339.
Three more patients have needed to be admitted to hospital but no-one else has needed to go into ICU so those figures are at 945 and 179. No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures show that Tenerife has had 1,477 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 579, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 108 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 38 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 25 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show just two more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,324. Sadly we have one further fatality so the total of deaths is 158. Recoveries are up 36 to 1,796, and our active cases are therefore down to 370.
No further patients have needed hospital or ICU admission so those figures remain at 942 and 179. As I said yesterday, only around 40 of the active cases in Tenerife are in hospital, around 10 of them in ICU: all the other patients are at home, only around 20 in south Tenerife and the overwhelming majority in the north and metropolitan area. No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures show that Tenerife has had 1,476 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 576, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 108 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 38 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 24 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show just one more case recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,322. Thankfully we have no further fatalities so the total of deaths remains at 157. Recoveries are up 3 to a total of 1,760, and our active cases are therefore down to 405.
No further patients have needed hospital or ICU admission so those figures remain at 942 and 179. I understand that in Tenerife only around 40 of the active cases are in hospital, around 10 of them in ICU: all the other patients are at home, the overwhelming majority of them in the north and metropolitan area. No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures show that Tenerife has had 1,476 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 575, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 38 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote (this remains out by 1).
Updated 23 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show just three more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,321. Sadly we have one further fatality so the total of deaths is now 157. Recoveries are up again, this time by 41 to 1,757, and our active cases are therefore down to 407.
No further patients have needed hospital or ICU admission so those figures remain at 942 and 179. No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures show that Tenerife has had 1,475 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 575, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 38 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 6pm, 22/5: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show six more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,318. Sadly we have one further fatality so the total of deaths is now 156. Recoveries are up again, this time by 34 to 1,716, and our active cases are therefore down to 446.
No further patients have needed hospital or ICU admission so those figures are 942 and 179 (the hospital admission figures have been recalibrated). No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures show that Tenerife has had 1,474 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 573, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 38 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 22 May: Sanidad said last week that the first seroprevalence results showed that Spain does not have “herd immunity” against covid19, and in fact the national figure was around 5%, nowhere near the ca75% needed for such a virus. Now, Sanidad has advised that the comparable figure for the Canaries as a region is 1.7%, with Tenerife itself being 2.1%. The low rate is a direct result, obviously, of the low figures we’ve had here, our relative isolation working to our advantage in respect of the infection, but doing us no favours at all in terms of immunity percentages. This is all the more reason, Sanidad urges, for us all to take the de-escalation restrictions very seriously: we have no societal immunity to this and cannot achieve the figures (thank heavens) to acquire it.
Updated 21 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show five more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,312. Thankfully we have no further fatalities so the total of deaths remains at 155. Recoveries are up again, this time by 35 to 1,682, and our active cases are therefore down to 475.
No further patients have needed hospital or ICU admission so those figures remain at 944 and 179. No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures show that Tenerife has had 1,468 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 573, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 37 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Sanidad stressed in presenting last night’s figures that no cases have been recorded now for several days in six of the eight islands in the region, with the last case recorded in El Hierro on 24 April, in La Gomera on 29 April, in Lanzarote on 30 March, in La Palma on 11 May, and in Fuerteventura on 14 May. La Graciosa remains without any cases. The infection is now limited to Tenerife and Gran Canaria and in the latter case, Sanidad says that the island’s Hospital Universitario de Gran Canaria Dr. Negrín has no covid19 patients at all in it since yesterday.
Updated 20 May: Slight change in presentation from today as I’m going to focus on the main figures that show the overall trend. I will still include the figures by island and the hospital/ICU and health sector staff figures but the main focus will be on the recorded cases, deaths and recoveries, and so the active cases since these are the figures giving the real picture of how things are developing … and for the moment, that picture looks better every day that passes.
And so, Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show six more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,307. Thankfully we have no further fatalities so the total of deaths remains at 155. Recoveries are up again, this time by 37 to 1,647, and our active cases are therefore down to 505.
Just one more patient has needed hospital admission so that number is now 944, but there are no further admissions to ICU so that total remains at 179. No more healthcare professionals have been infected either, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce. The island figures have been adjusted again, Sanidad says, to record them in their current format, and so Tenerife has had 1,466 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 570, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 37 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Sanidad has said that the more that’s discovered about the virus, and the more tests carried out, the more nuanced and detailed its figures and policy can be, this is at both national and regional level. In this context, there is now an additional protocol analysing “suspected cases”, and to 8pm last evening there are 291 suspicious cases in the Canary Islands. Sanidad explains that such cases are those where someone presents with symptoms including acute and sudden-onset respiratory difficulties, fever, cough or shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell, diarrhoea, muscle pain. The protocol now in place will allow for these patients to be assessed under clinical criteria and tested for SARS-CoV2 within 24 hours. These will be included in the figures within 24 to 72 hours if they test positive, a time period to allow for the testing, sample transfer, microbiological treatment and reporting.
Updated 19 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show seven more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,301. Just one more patient has needed hospital admission so that number is now 943, and just one more has needed to be admitted for intensive care so the ICU total is up to 179. No more healthcare professionals have been infected, thankfully, so that total remains at 587, 1.89% of the total workforce, and sadly we also have a further fatality bringing our total of deaths to 155. Recoveries, however, are up by a huge 73 to 1,610, and so our active cases are down to 536. By island, Tenerife has had 1,466 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 597, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 37 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 18 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show five more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,294. Three more people have needed hospital admission so that number is now 942, but thankfully there are no more ICU admissions to record, that number remains at 178. One more healthcare professional has been infected bringing that number to 587, 1.89% of the total workforce, and sadly we also have a further fatality bringing our total of deaths to 154. Recoveries, however, are up 13 to 1,537, and so our active cases are down to 603. By island, Tenerife has had 1,461 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 595, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 106 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 17 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show five more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,289. We have no further hospital admissions, no more ICU admissions, nor any further healthcare professionals infected: those numbers remain at 939, 178 and 586 respectively. Sadly we have two further deaths to record, bringing the total to 153, and recoveries remain at 1,524. Our active cases are therefore up three to 612. By island, Tenerife has had 1,457 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 594, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 105 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 16 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show four more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,284. There is just one more hospital admission to record bringing that number to 939, but still no more ICU admissions, nor any further healthcare professionals infected so those numbers remain at 178 and 586 respectively. We have no further deaths to record either, that number remains at 151, and recoveries are up 18 to 1,524. Our active cases are therefore down to 609. By island, Tenerife has had 1,456 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 590, La Palma 95, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 103 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 15 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show five more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,280. There is just one more hospital admission to record bringing that number to 938, but still no more ICU admissions, nor any further healthcare professionals infected so those numbers remain at 178 and 586 respectively. We have no further deaths to record either, that number remains at 151, and recoveries are up 10 to 1,506. Our active cases are therefore down to 623. By island, Tenerife has had 1,450 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 589, La Palma 96, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 103 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 14 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show just four more cases recorded in the Canaries bringing our total to 2,275. There are no more hospital admissions to record, no more ICU admissions, no further healthcare professionals infected; those numbers remain at 937, 178, and 586 respectively. We have no further deaths to record either, that number remains at 151, and recoveries are up 21 to 1,496. Our active cases are therefore down to 628. By island, Tenerife has had 1,447 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 587, La Palma 96, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 45, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 103 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 8pm, 13/5: The first seroprevalence results show that so far Spain does not have herd immunity against covid19, national Health Secretary Salvador Illa has said tonight. The study confirms what the Government expected would be the case and continues with a second and expanded round of tests. The situation, as foreseen, is what is underpinning the Government’s policy of staged de-escalation within an estado de alarma that Pedro Sánchez is trying to get approval to extend until the end of June. Meanwhile Illa himself says that the results of this first round reaffirm the need to act with great caution.
Updated 13 May: Sanidad says that just three more cases have been recorded in the Canaries to 8pm last night bringing the region’s total to 2,271. There have been no further medical professionals infected so again that number remains at 586, 1.89% of the workforce. There have not been any further Hospital admissions either so that remains at 937, nor any further admissions to an ICU so that figure too remains at 178.
Recoveries are up 19 to 1,475, and thankfully we have no further deaths to record so our total fatalities remain at 151. Our active cases are therefore down to 645. By island, Tenerife has had 1,445 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 586, La Palma 96, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 103 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 6pm, 12/5: Sanidad has taken a total of 6,301 test samples in the first round of seroprevalence testing that has been instigated by the national health department in collaboration with the Instituto de Salud Carlos III and the National Statistics Institute. The tests were taken from 3,168 households selected at random to represent different types and groups of people, and they will undergo the second round of testing which will start tomorrow. The testing cohort represents 65% of the over 9,000 selected, a sample therefore of 65%, over the 60% required for the testing to be effective though Sanidad nonetheless expects the cohort to increase in the second round in any case.
Updated 12 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last night show a total of 2,268 cases recorded in the Canaries, up eight in the previous 24 hours. The number of medical professionals infected again remains at 586, 1.89% of the workforce. Hospital admissions have risen again by just one to 937, and no further patients have needed admission to an ICU so that figure too remains at 178.
Recoveries are up 65 to 1,456, but sadly we have two more fatalities so our total rises to 151. Our active cases are therefore down to 661. By island, Tenerife has had 1,443 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 585, La Palma 96, Lanzarote 87, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 103 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 36 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 11 May: Sanidad says that 2,260 cases have been recorded in the Canaries to 8pm last evening, a rise of just two over the previous 24 hours. Thankfully the number of medical professionals infected has not increased, and remains at 586, 1.89% of the workforce. Hospital admissions have risen by just one to 936, and no further patients have needed admission to an ICU so that figure too remains at 178.
Recoveries are up 45 to 1,391, and thankfully there are no further fatalities so our total deaths remain at 149. Our active cases are therefore 720. Just days ago, it seems, we were delighted at that figure for active cases getting down below 1,000 into three figures, then looking at the next psychological marker … now they are really falling significantly. In terms of individual figures for each island, Tenerife has 1,441 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 583, La Palma 94, Lanzarote 85, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island remain 102 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 10 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening showing that we have eight new cases in the previous 24 hours, so our total recorded figure is now 2,258. Thankfully the number of medical professionals infected has not increased, and remains at 586, 1.89% of the workforce. Hospital admissions remain the same as well at 935, and no further patients have needed admission to an ICU so that figure too remains at 178.
Recoveries are up four to 1,346, and sadly we have another fatality so our total deaths are 149. Our active cases are therefore 763. By island, Tenerife has 1,439 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 583, La Palma 94, Lanzarote 85, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 102 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 6 in Lanzarote.
Updated 9 May: Thankfully we’re back to normal in presentation today, with Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening showing that we have no new cases in the previous 24 hours, so our total recorded figure remains at 2,250, as does the number of medical professionals infected, which remains at 586, 1.89% of the workforce. Hospital admissions total 935 now, and two more patients have needed admission to an ICU bringing that figure to 178 after eight days without an admission.
Recoveries are as yesterday, up by a huge jump of 84 over the last 48 hours to 1,342, and mercifully we have another day with no further deaths so that total remains at 148. Our active cases therefore remain at 760. By island, Tenerife has 1,434 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 581, La Palma 94, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 102 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 8 May: Today’s figures show a jump of 15 new cases to 2,250 in the Canaries, and sadly four more fatalities bringing our total of deaths to 148. Recoveries are up 85 to 1,342, Hopefully tomorrow we’ll be back to our usual presentation of figures, but for tonight our active cases total 760 in numbers that start to look like they’re tumbling now!
Updated 7 May: After yesterday’s excellent news of no new cases in the Canaries, Sanidad says that there were four new cases in the 24 hours to 8pm last evening bringing our total to 2,235. Three more health professionals have been infected, bringing that number to 586, 1.89% of the medical workforce. There has been one hospital admission over the past 24 hours bringing that total to 921, but we still have no further patients needing admission to an ICU – that figure remains at 176 for what is now over a whole week.
The number of recoveries is up 35 to 1,258, and again sadly we have one more fatality bringing our number of deaths to 144. Our active cases therefore are down to 833. By island, Tenerife has 1,425 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 577, La Palma 92, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 98 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 6 May: The Canary Islands are the only region of Spain who can say that their Health Authority’s figures to 8pm last evening show no further cases in the previous 24 hours. We haven’t been able to say that on any day since 8 March! No further cases, and so we are the only region of Spain who can say that our total remains as it was yesterday, at 2,231. This naturally means that no more health professionals have been infected so that number remains at 583, 1.88% of the medical workforce. In response, the Canarian Health Service director Antonio Olivera said that the virus is no longer in general circulation in these islands, but is still lurking in some specific areas here and so we cannot drop our guard.
Sanidad itself confirmed that hospitals are now able to start thinking about performing non-urgent operations and out-patient appointments again, albeit in cautious stages, so patients awaiting appointments might start to be contacted. Some, however, have expressed reservations about the risks of attending or being admitted to what they consider hotbeds of infection while there is any covid19 in the Canaries: they might not be too reassured either by suggestions that for their own safety all patients needing surgery will be tested for covid19 after their operations.
As well as having no new cases, hospital admissions remain at 920 because no patients have needed to be admitted over the past 24 hours, which means that just one person has needed to go into hospital in the last 72 hours. We also continue with no further admissions to an ICU,which means we have now reached a full week with no-one needing intensive care: that figure remains at 176.
The number of recoveries is up 33 to 1,223, and again sadly we have one more fatality bringing our number of deaths to 143. And we are now down to 865 active cases.
By island, Tenerife has 1,424 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 577, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 97 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 5 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show a further six cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing our total to 2,231 recorded cases in the Canaries. Four more health professionals have been infected, bringing that number to 583, 1.88% of the medical workforce. There has been one hospital admission over the past 24 hours which means for the past 48 hours, in fact, bringing that total to 920, but we still have no further patients needing admission to an ICU – that figure remains at 176 for now the sixth consecutive day.
The number of recoveries is up 24 to 1,190, and again sadly we have one more fatality bringing our number of deaths to 142. And with those figures, we have reached the next marker that I talked about only yesterday, of active cases now not only being under 1,000 but approaching the next marker of 900: today they stand at 899, under that marker even if only by one! The progress is clear in contrast to our peak which is now considered to have been reached on Monday 6 April just four weeks ago with 1,450 active cases.
By island, Tenerife has 1,424 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 577, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 96 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 4 May: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show a further four cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing our total to 2,225 recorded cases in the Canaries. One more health professional has been infected, bringing that number to 579, 1.86% of the medical workforce, but I’m delighted that this is the first day where I’ve been able to report that no further patients have needed admission either to hospital or an ICU – those figures remain as yesterday, at 919 and 176, the latter now for the fifth consecutive day.
The number of recoveries is up 16 to 1,166, but sadly we have one more fatality, bringing our number of deaths to 141. Our active cases are therefore at 918, now not only under 1,000 but approaching the next marker of 900! By island, Tenerife has 1,419 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 576, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 95 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 35 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 3 May: Sanidad says that to 8pm last evening we have 2,221 cases in the Canaries, nine more than the previous 24 hours. Four more health professionals have been infected, however, bringing that number to 578, 1.86% of the medical workforce. Patients needing hospital admission are up just one to 919, and we still have no further admissions to an ICU meaning that that total remains at 176 for the fourth day running.
The number of recoveries is up one to 1,150, and thankfully we again have a 24 hour period with no further deaths, meaning our total of fatalities remains at 140. There are therefore 931 active cases at present. By island, Tenerife has 1,416 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 575, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are as yesterday, so 95 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 34 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 6pm, 2/5: The FCO has issued this statement:
Earlier today we posted reporting that Wizz Air flights between Tenerife and London Luton had been cancelled. We can now confirm that today’s flight is running as scheduled and that flight WUK8129/W98129 departed London Luton at 1802 BST this evening. This has been a rapidly changing situation and we regret adding to the confusion. We will continue to update for future Wizz Air flights.
Please note that today’s earlier announcement was posted at the express request of the FCO. As is this retraction. This is not MY information, but theirs. Do with it what you will.
Updated 4pm, 2/5: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced that from this Monday 4 May facemasks will be obligatory on public transport. To facilitate compliance, the PM says, from Monday the Government will hand out 6 million masks in transport hubs and another 7 million to local authorities via FEMP, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces. A further 1.5 million masks will be distributed to Caritas, Cruz Roja, and Cermi, the Spanish Committee of Disabled People’s Representatives. And of course we can buy them in chemists too. During his briefing, Sánchez also confirmed that he will ask Congress on Wednesday for another fortnight’s extension of the estado de alarma.
Updated 2pm, 2/5: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show six more cases bringing our total from 2,206 to 2,212. Again, thankfully, no further health professionals have been infected, that number remains at 574, 1.85% of the medical workforce, for the second day running. Patients needing hospital admission are up by four to 918, and I’m pleased to say that yet we have no further admissions to an ICU meaning that that total remains at 176 for the third day running.
The number of recoveries is 1,149. Yesterday we were recording 1,151 but Sanidad says that there has been a technical revision in the parameters resulting in the modified figures. Sadly, four more have died bringing our total of fatalities to 140. There are therefore 923 active cases at present. By island, Tenerife has 1,410 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 572, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are: 95 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 34 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 2 May: They are taking your bookings, and your money, even though as I reported recently they could not deliver any non-residents into Spain however many flights they sold, but now thankfully the UK’s DoT has confirmed after consultation with Wizz Air management that the airline has cancelled Tenerife flights until June at the earliest. Please understand that it is irrelevant that you will find the flights still showing on Wizz Air’s sites: this information is confirmed, and from the Foreign Office informed by the Department of Transport in Whitehall. As of late last night, the British Embassy in Madrid says:
Wizz Air have now informed the Government that they have cancelled their flights from Tenerife to London Luton and do not expect to start running this service until June at the earliest. British Airways, Iberia and Vueling continue to operate flights to the UK via Barcelona and Madrid. These remain the most reliable flight options and we continue to post regular updates on this page. We very much regret the further disruption customers may suffer as a result of these cancellations.
Updated 1 May: Sanidad is very happy today with figures to 8pm last evening showing only one more case in the Canaries in the previous 24 hours. Our total has risen from 2,205 to 2,206. Moreover, no further health professionals have been infected, that number remains at 574, 1.85% of the medical workforce. Patients needing hospital admission are up by five to 914, and I’m pleased to say that once again they report no further admissions to an ICU meaning that that total remains at 176 for the second day running.
Recoveries have leapt again, up 20 to 1,151, and sadly there is one further fatality, so a total of 136 people have become victims to covid19 in the Canaries. There are therefore 919 active cases down 20 from yesterday’s 939. By island, Tenerife has 1,404 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 572, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are: 91 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 34 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 4pm, 30/4: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show just three more cases recorded in the Canaries in the previous 24 hours bringing our total to 2,205. Of these, 574 are health professionals, an increase of two in the same period, amounting to 1.85% of the medical workforce of just over 30,000. Patients needing hospital admission have risen just three over the past 24 hours from 906 to 909, and there have been no further admissions to an ICU meaning that that total remains at 176.
Recoveries have leapt again, up 24 from 1,107 to 1,131, and there has been one further fatality bringing the tally of victims to 135. There are therefore 939 active cases down from 978 yesterday. By island, Tenerife has 1,404 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 571, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are: 90 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 34 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 1.30pm, 30/4: Police have started anticipating the measure that is still to be confirmed but which is expected as part of phase 0’s preparatory transition to de-escalation to allow adults out from Saturday in the same way that children have recently been able to go out for walks. They say that they are reinforcing their presence in streets and public spaces where people may go for a walk in groups of family with whom they live, or to practise sport individually.
They say that this is part of their preparation for the introduction of “Fase 0 which starts on 4 May”, but as we know, Pedro Sánchez himself has confirmed that we’re all already in Phase 0, with Phase 1 starting in La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa (and Formentera in the Balearics) from this coming Monday 4 May. The rest of Spain will have to wait until 11 May when any areas deemed safe at that point will be able to join Phase 1 as well – other areas not deemed safe then will have to continue to wait.
In any case, the important thing is that forces are gearing up to police our behaviour if, as expected, we are allowed from Saturday 2 May to go out for walks and to carry out exercise under Phase 0. This evening we will have more detail to accompany this because national Health Secretary Illa will be giving a press conference to flesh out the details of what will be allowed for whom, and where and when it will be permitted.
Updated 1pm, 30/4: Clio’s and my latest podcast HERE.
Updated 30 April: The Spanish Government has now put HERE the English version of its report on the latest measures. As you will see, and as I’ve reported below, nothing changes for Tenerife before 11 May – and even that depends on the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife meeting the criteria to move into Phase 1. Within our province, La Gomera and El Hierro will move into Phase 1 on 4 May but we and La Palma need to wait to find out if we can join them on the 11th.
Please note that although this official English translation says that “In … phase zero … in addition to the measures designed so that children can get out into the streets for an hour and adults can do individual exercise … “, the Spanish original says “En … fase cero … además de la medidas proyectadas para que los menores salgan una hora a la calle y los adultos a hacer ejercicio … “. The key word is “proyectadas”: proposed. These measures are likely to be adopted but until they are approved they cannot be taken as fact.
At least some if not all these measures are likely to approved, and we will get the clarity and confirmation so many are clamouring for either tomorrow or Saturday. Meanwhile, Spanish Health Sec Illa will be giving a press call around 6pm to explain the proposed regulations established for adults to go out for a walk or to practise individual sports from this Saturday. Hopefully he will be able to give some clear indications as to who is allowed to do what, and when.
Updated 6pm, 29/4: And once more, from the FCO in Madrid, clear information of the only ones who can enter Spain during the estado de alarma. This is the UK’s Consul General to Spain, Lloyd Milen, who has recorded this from his home in Barcelona.
Updated 4pm, 29/4: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show 2,202 cases 2,187, up 15 on the previous 24 hours. Of these, 572 are health professionals, an increase of nine in the same period, amounting to 1.84% of the medical workforce of just over 30,000. Patients needing hospital admission have risen just six over the past 24 hours, from 900 to 906, and two more have needed admission to an ICU meaning that 176 have required intensive care.
Recoveries have leapt again, up 32 from 1,075 to 1,107, and we’ve had another 24 hours with no further fatalities, so the tally of victims remains at 134. There are therefore 978 active cases. By island, Tenerife has 1,401 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 571, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are: 89 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 34 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 2pm, 29/4: This is the de-escalation plan from the government itself, together with its three technical appendixes. Now people can check for themselves, but do bear in mind this is the plan, not the published law. Plans can change. But this is the overall idea pending only final confirmation in the published version in the BOE.
Updated 29 April: Apparently there is no end to the muddle people can get themselves into. To reiterate: we are currently in Phase 0, the de-escalation preparation phase. It is characterized by measures applied across the board, throughout the country, and seeks to flatten the curve of the viral outbreak. As such, people are allowed outside their homes for specific purposes, according to the list with which we are now familiar, and now children are allowed out for an hour a day within 1km of their home, etc., always obeying social distancing requirements and maintaining required hygiene because we are still in the middle of the outbreak and we are still in a State of Emergency.
The State of Emergency, indeed, is very likely to be extended and Pedro Sänchez has confirmed he will ask Parliament for another extension after this one that currently ends at the end of 9 May. So all the usual measures still apply – eg one in a car unless someone must be taken somewhere in which case they sit in the back diagonally from the driver, going only to the supermarket, going to work, all the things we have become used to are still in place, and will remain in place until either the State of Emergency is lifted OR specific relaxations are announced.
One of these relaxations is likely to be that people can go out for walks from 2 May, but those details are yet to be confirmed, including whether this applies across the country, whether it applies to certain age groups, or in certain hours and if so whether that’s depending on age group – none of this is yet clarified. Nor confirmed yet is the detail about which businesses or training facilities can reopen for individual customers by appointment – or in which areas any announced measures will apply. When these details are confirmed there will be an official announcement which will be reported as such.
Phase I will start when conditions allow, at the moment the working hypothesis is that each phase will last a fortnight but this could change depending on the evolution of the viral outbreak. Confirmed already, however, because of local conditions, is that phase 1 will start on 4 May in Formentera in the Balearic Islands and La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa in the Canaries. Not Tenerife.
Being in phase 1, whenever that might start, will mean the partial reopening of some activities such as small shops, terraces serving customers to 30% of their capacity, hotels excluding communal areas – though only to tourists from within a province at present. Also professional sports activities and churches will be able to open as long as they comply with required hygiene measures and again, limiting their capacity to one third.
We don’t need yet to think beyond that, in Tenerife.
Updated 11pm, 28/4: There is a deal of interest in one measure mentioned in today’s press conference by Pedro Sánchez and which has been interpreted as everyone in the country being able to go out for individual exercise and walks “from this weekend”. This is a misunderstanding of what Sánchez said. What he announced is that from this weekend it is possible that adults might be able to go out for some individual, not group, exercise, and a walk.
The details, however, are not yet finalised, and are therefore not yet confirmed. When they are, there will be a ministerial order published as to whatever measures might be approved in this respect. At present that is all that can be said, and the lack of detail is why I did not post about it, preferring to wait, as always, for confirmed information. As soon as anything is confirmed in this respect I will post about it, of course.
Updated 9pm, 28/4: Canarian President Ángel Víctor Torres has reacted positively to the de-escalation plan approved today by the Spanish Cabinet and presented this afternoon by Pedro Sánchez, a phased transition process which is condition on a series of markers. Torres said this evening that the coordination between the regions and Central Government has worked, and that it was similar to the plan presented by the Canarian authorities to Madrid recently. Neither established set dates, nor contemplated a rigid procedure, but one that was staged.
The plan establishes phase 1 as beginning this coming Monday 4 May, with La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa entering phase 1 to start the de-escalation in the Canaries. A week later on Monday 11 May the rest of the islands will start the transition provided they fulfil the criteria. Torres said that “if that is the case, it is because things will have been done successfully. But we still need to be rigorous throughout the process, and keep our guard up and be aware that the virus is there”.
Updated 6pm, 28/4: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has presented the Government’s Plan for the Transition to a New Normality. The plan envisages a four-phased de-escalation starting on 11 May but because of their particular situations and conditions, four areas of Spain will be able to enter Phase 1 immediately next Monday 4 May. These are La Gomera, El Hierro, and La Graciosa in the Canaries, as well as Formentera in the Balearic Islands.
The plan foresees the phases lasting until July as a staged and gradual process coordinated through Spain, with the country presently in the preparatory Phase 0, with Phase 1 allowing partial reopening to the public of some businesses but not large commercial centres where crowds could gather. This phase will include the opening of hotels and tourist apartments though not communal areas. For the moment, Sánchez said, there will be no movement between Spain’s provinces (parts of autonomous communities) nor between islands. The elderly – over 65s – will have a “timetable” to go to the shops but facemasks are still not going to be required though they will be strongly recommended. Churches too will be able to open but only to 30% capacity.
Once conditions are deemed appropriate, the country will enter Phase 2, which will allow hostelry establishments to reopen to diners. Schools won’t fully reopen until September but will be able to offer a place to six-year-olds if parents have to work, and to students who need to complete university applications and exams. This second phase will also allow some small cultural events of up to 50 attendees; the same will apply to open-air events of up to 400 seated attendees, and cinemas and theatres – like churches, only up to 30% capacity.
Phase 3, when it’s deemed appropriate, is considered as an advanced phase of de-escalation, which will see churches, cinemas and theaters able to let 50% of their capacity in. It is at this point that those who have been encouraged or required to work from home may return to their workplaces.
At present, each phase is anticipated as lasting a minimum of a fortnight, which means that within two months, Spain is envisaging a return to normality provided that there is no resurgence of the outbreak.
And so, after this weekend the three Canarian and one Balearic islands will be the only parts of Spain to enter Phase 1. On 11 May, any provinces in Spain that meet the criteria developed for safe evolution of the outbreak will join them. These prerequisite criteria will be reassessed every two weeks.
Sánchez explained that he was not introducing a “closed and uniform calendar” but rather that the Government “will proceed per region as soon as the outbreak allowed” and according to the capacity of the health service, and how the outbreak is evolving. This “new normality” will endure “until a vaccine is developed”. Sánchez was adamant that the governing principle will be caution since the virus is still among us, and that the policy’s main objective was to save lives. Only by saving lives can we begin to rebuild our country, he said.
Sánchez also confirmed that he would be requesting yet another fortnight extension to the estado de alarma which presently expires at the end of 9 May.
Updated 28 April: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show 2,187 cases, up just nine on the previous 24 hours. Of these, 563 are health professionals, an increase again of only three in the same period, amounting to 1.8% of the medical workforce of just over 30,000. Patients needing hospital admission have jumped 19 over the past 24 hours, from 881 to 900, and three more have needed admission to an ICU meaning that 174 have required intensive care.
Recoveries have also leapt, however, up 28 from 1,047 to 1,075, but sadly three more have died bringing our fatalities to 134. There are therefore 978 active cases. By island, Tenerife has 1,394 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 563, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are: 89 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 34 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 4pm, 27/4: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show 2,178, up just eleven on the previous 24 hours. Of these, 560 are health professionals, an increase of only three in the same period, amounting to 1.8% of the medical workforce of just over 30,000. Patients needing hospital admission have risen by just one in the last 24 hours, to 881, and it is now 48 hours since anyone needed admission to an ICU: that figure remains at 171.
Also remaining static, mercifully, are the fatalities: we have been on 131 now without any deaths since 8pm the night before last. Recoveries remain at 1,047 – yesterday’s figures from 8pm the previous evening showed 1,048 but Sanidad says there has been a technical revision in the figures and with this modification and without any new recoveries the figure remains at 1,047. Active cases, therefore, have again reached 1,000 but all trends are going in the right direction. By island, Tenerife has 1,388 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 560, La Palma 89, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are as yesterday: 87 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 33 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 27/4: Clio’s and my latest covidcast is HERE.
Updated 1pm, 26/4: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show 2,167 cases, up just twelve on the previous 24 hours. Of these, 549 are health professionals, an increase of only three in the same period, amounting to 1.77% of the medical workforce. Patients needing hospital admission have risen by two to 880, again with no further admissions to ICU: that figure remains at 171.
Sadly one more patient has died bringing our total of fatalities to 131, while recoveries are up from 1,036 to 1,048. Active cases, therefore, are down again: in the last two days we’ve gone below 1,000 to 995, then to 989, and today to 988. By island, Tenerife has 1,381 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 557, La Palma 88, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 87 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 33 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
With regard to testing, Sanidad has confirmed that they are increasing with a focus on vulnerable groups, those with symptoms, and frontline medical personnel. In this respect, a total of 50,741 PCR tests have been carried out to diagnose covid19 in 32,922 patients, reaching now a total of 2,762 tests each day. Of these, 10,987 have been on 8,347 medical personnel. Tests are being carried out nationally but these figures are for the Canaries alone. To put this into context, the entire UK is carrying out just over 20,000 a day.
Experts say that PCR tests are what we might know as antigen tests, used to detect viral RNA – the presence of an antigen – rather than an antibody caused by the body’s immune response. These tests show the virus present in the body before antibodies form and indeed even before symptoms are evident.
Meanwhile, the Government has announced that the seroprevalence test that I mentioned in the 22 April update below will start on Monday. As they explained, the National Epidemiological Study of SARS-CoV2 infection (the virus that causes covid19) will be carried out by the Spanish Health Department and the Carlos III Health Institute in conjunction with the regional Health Departments. It is intended to establish the percentage of the population that has developed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, a factor known as the “seroprevalence”.
Updated 26 April: As of 9am this morning, children are allowed out for an hour a day within 1km of their home with an adult they live with. They can’t go to play parks or sporting facilities but it’s freedom of a sort. And last night, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez said that the Government was working on an exit strategy for Spain which the Cabinet would discuss and hopefully sign off this coming week so that it could be presented to Parliament.
The exit strategy would be in place, the PM said, so that the country had a routemap to guide it to “its new normality” when conditions were right for it to be activated. So, whenever it might be approved it still would not come into effect until and unless the outbreak was manifestly continuing its current trajectory, and it was clear that any resurgence that might occur would not overwhelm the health system.
The strategy would be a prudent and gradual one, he said, and despite the work put into region-specific lockdown-lifting measures by the Canarian Government, the PM confirmed that there would be one single approach within Spain, no piecemeal measures, though it was possible that the coordinated approach might be applied in different timescales depending on how the outbreak was affecting the various regions in Spain.
As part of the PM’s ideas for an exit strategy that he will outline to Cabinet this week are the possibility that from next Saturday, 2 May, adults could be allowed similar freedom to that which children enjoy from today. If the outbreak continues on its current track, Sánchez said, individuals and family groups may be allowed out for short periods for individual physical activity and walks.
The PM said that this was very very early days in what he called the long road to Spain’s new normality, and any proposed measures remained only proposals, albeit within an exit strategy, until the Government was certain they could be safely implemented. He called on the public to act responsibly, and stressed that the only way Spain could reach a safe future was through unity: of the country, of the Government, and of the people.
Anyone thinking of returning to Spain should be aware, however, that even if the exit strategy starts to be implemented from next Saturday, the estado de alarma remains in force. This means that any loosening of restrictions will take place within the framework of what we know as permitted reasons to leave home, including going to work, the bank, supermarkets. Importantly for the country’s internal safety, any deconfinement measures within this State of Emergency will not involve opening Spain’s borders: that is a way away yet, it seems. Please be aware that this means that the rule continues that only Spanish nationals and legal residents may enter the country, as well as diplomatic corps and cross-border workers (Gibraltar).
Visitors might want to be cautious therefore about booking flights such as offered by Wizz Air to fly to Tenerife from next Saturday. Resident Kirsty Stirk said that her daughter flew out with them on 24 March with about 30 other passengers but only 22 were allowed to disembark. Mrs Stirk said that the rest were sent back to the UK and that there had been no information from the company about this possibility. She says “Upon landing the police were stood as the doors opened and asked the cabin crew if everyone had been checked for residency or Spanish nationals. They said no. They told the passengers those who are not spanish nationals or residents would not be allowed off the plane. The police had already boarded the plane, did the checks (extremely thoroughly) and would not allow those off who did not meet requirements.”
In response to an enquiry about their policy, Wizz Air issued the automated reply “You can check our schedule on wizzair.com but keep in mind that we might change our available flights in the future due to the current circumstances. If we do so and you already have a ticket, we’ll inform you via e-mail/SMS.” They have not responded to a further request for confirmation that they are allowing people to book flights who have no chance of being permitted entry to Spain because they are not in possession of either a Spanish passport or a green Certificado de Registro demonstrating legal residence as a result of police registration. Visitors might therefore prefer to keep their powder dry, and their money safe, before booking, and wait for confirmation that Spain’s borders are open again.
Updated 2pm, 25/4: Sanidad says that as of 8pm last evening the Canaries has had a total of 2,155 recorded cases, an increase of 15 in the previous 24 hours. Of these, 546 are health professionals, an increase of 12 from yesterday’s 534, amounting to 1.76% of the medical workforce. Patients needing hospital admission have risen from 868 to 878, with 171 requiring Intensive Care Unit treatment, just two more than a couple of days ago after yesterday, like several days recently saw no further patients requiring ICU admission.
Sadly two more patients have died bringing our total of fatalities to 130, while recoveries are now up from 1,017 to 1,036. Active cases, therefore, are down again: yesterday we dipped below 1000 with 995, and today they’re down to 989. By island, Tenerife has 1,374 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 553, La Palma 87, Lanzarote 84, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 86 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 33 in Gran Canaria, and 5 in Lanzarote.
Updated 25 April: The State of Emergency has been extended to the end of 9 May (00.00h 10 May), as we know, with the legislation to be published imminently, but already we have the specific order, now published in the BOE, about the conditions which will apply to children. The Orden SND/370/2020 is HERE, and applies from midnight tonight, 00.00h 26 April. It will remain effective while the estado de alarma is in place and through any of its further extensions.
The legislation provides for all children under 14 to be allowed outside for an hour maximum and within 1km of their home between 9am and 9pm on any public road or space but not play parks or sports facilities. They may take their own personal playthings, if desired.
They must be in groups of no more than three from the same household, and be accompanied by the one adult responsible for them who must be someone they live with, whether a parent, guardian or elder sibling. If the adult is not a parent, guardian, or legally approved carer like a foster parent, they must carry authorization with them.
While out, they must keep at least 2m away from anyone else they encounter while out, and must also comply with any other required prevention and hygiene measures.
An exception is made for any child with symptoms or a diagnosis of covid19 who must remain at home. Adapted measures will apply for children in official centres for child protection, social support, disability residence, etc.
Updated 5pm, 24/4: A few bits of information about various things. Firstly, the Spanish Government has said today that following the approval of the extension request by Congress (Parliament), the Cabinet has now approved the Real Decreto (law) which extends the State of Emergency to 00.00 10 May. This means the final version is already completed. Given the interest in one measure above all, the Government confirms that the Bill will include a measure allowing children up to 14 years old to go out from this Sunday, 26 April on the following conditions:
- they are accompanied by an adult
- they go out only once a day between 9am and 9pm
- they go no further than 1k from home.
There will be far more detail, obviously, in the published law, which the Government says will be published tomorrow, Saturday. There is presently no further confirmed information, but as soon as I have the link to the published law I’ll post it along with a resumé of its contents.
Meanwhile there is inordinate excitement over what has been reported as the Canarian Government’s “lifting of restrictions”. There is no such thing, in fact, but the regional authorities have submitted to Madrid a staggered regional deconfinement plan for the national Government to consider: naturally the regional authorities have no power themselves to alter a national State of Emergency! The proposed measures are along the lines speculated upon for weeks now, but they are plans for consideration, no more. They may or may not be agreed by Madrid, and may be adapted in any case.
Most importantly, however, despite at least one regional paper’s front page this morning trumpeting that the Canaries will start its deconfinement on Monday, as I’ve just said the law extending the estado de alarma is already in its final form, and the Canarian Government has this afternoon acknowledged that :
el documento de desconfinamiento progresivo habla de fases, sin que estén asociadas a un tiempo determinado, y tampoco establece ya una fecha de inicio: Este proceso empezará cuando se dé luz verde a la fase A.
The document of progressive deconfinement speaks of phases which aren’t associated with a specific period of time, nor does it establish a start date. The process will begin when a green light is given to the first phase.
In other words, it’s not happening. At least not yet. Which is why I haven’t reported it.
Finally, for technical reasons I’m afraid Clio and I won’t be able to record a podcast until Monday (we hope). We’ll be discussing all of this, of course, in the next one as soon as we can record it.
Updated 24 April: Sanidad says that as of 8pm last evening the Canaries has had a total of 2,140 recorded cases, an increase of 27 in the previous 24 hours. Of these, 534 are health professionals, an increase of six from yesterday’s 528, some 1.7% of the medical workforce. Patients needing hospital admission have risen from 855 to 868, with 169 requiring Intensive Care Unit treatment – which means that again, along with several days recently, no further patients have needed ICU admission. Sadly six more patients have died bringing our total of fatalities to 128.
By island, Tenerife has 1,365 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 549, La Palma 87, Lanzarote 82, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 85 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 33 in Gran Canaria, and 4 in Lanzarote.
What is perhaps more significant still today, however, is that we have passed a couple of psychologically very significant milestones. Recoveries have not only leapt again, they’re now over 1,000, up 48 from yesterday’s 969 to 1,017. Our active cases, too, have done the same in reverse, and are now down to below 1,000! Yesterday we had 1,022, but today we have 995.
Nationally, too, Fernando Simón, the director of Spain’s Health Alerts & Emergencies Coordination Centre, and himself a recovered covid19 patient, says that today is the first day in which Spain as a whole has recovery figures exceeding those of new cases. Today Spain has 2,796 new cases, an increase of 1.4% on the previous 24 hours and that percentage keeps going down, but 3,105 recoveries. This is going in the right direction wherever we look, and every single medical authority, along with the Spanish Government itself, is saying it is the result of us doing so well what they’ve asked, and that we have to keep up the effort a while longer so as not to undo our good work, or these advances.
To everything we’ve been feeling for the past month, I think most of us can add this weekend some relief and satisfaction, and a degree of pride in ourselves.
Updated 2pm, 23/4: Sanidad says that as of 8pm last evening the Canaries has had a total of 2,113 recorded cases, an increase of nineteen in the previous 24 hours. Of these, 528 are health professionals, an increase of seven, 1.7% of the medical workforce. Patients needing hospital admission have risen from 841 to 855, with 169 requiring Intensive Care Unit treatment, a rise of five after several days where one or none needed to be admitted.
One more patient has become a victim of the virus bringing our total of fatalities to 122. Recoveries have leapt again from 927 to 969: our active cases are therefore down again, to 1,022. By island, Tenerife has 1,345 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 542, La Palma 87, Lanzarote 82, Fuerteventura 44, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 80 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 32 in Gran Canaria, and 4 in Lanzarote.
Updated 23 April: From this coming Monday, supplies of facemasks will be widely available in chemists in the Canaries. The Government has reached a pricing agreement with suppliers so that no-one may be charged more than 96 cents including tax for one. The measures have been brought in due to reports of people being ripped off substantially.
Specifically these are the surgical ones, and to ensure that these masks reach the public who most need them, they have been supplied to farmacias who will sell one every three days per patient presenting a Tarjeta Sanitaria, though chemists have flexibility in providing a mask more often to patients with conditions that require more protection.
The Government says that the more substantial virus-specific FPP2 masks (FFP in English) will be available shortly: their price has not yet been fixed and they will be distributed to those with Tarjeta Sanitaria at the rate of one every ten days.
This is of course relating purely to the Government’s supply to officially registered farmacías. There is no restriction on those who are not state system registered patients buying them elsewhere.
Updated 11pm, 22/4: And we close tonight with the confirmation that Parliament has approved the extension of the estado de alarma to the end of 9 May (00.00 10 May). Pedro Sánchez says that we have to maintain caution so as not to risk what we’ve achieved so far. The PM thanked all those who had supported the proposal, and said the Government was working to ensure that when the public recovered its new normality, it can do so with maximum guarantees and certainty. There’ll be more detail tomorrow on the measures in the extension, but for now I’ll just note the PM’s reference to a “nueva normalidad” … the old normality might not be coming back, at least for a while.
Updated 22 April: Sanidad’s figures as of 8pm last evening show a further nine cases bringing the total recorded in the Canaries to 2,094. Of these, 521 are health professionals, another day with an increase of eight; with a medical workforce of 30,000 this represents a rate of 1.73%. Those needing hospital admission have risen from 837 to 841, with 164 requiring Intensive Care Unit treatment – which thankfully means no new admissions to an ICU in the previous 24 hours.
Mercifully, too, we have another day with no new fatalities to report, so our total remains at 121, and recorded recoveries have leapt again from 878 to 927: our active cases are therefore down again, to 1,046. By island, Tenerife has 1,337 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 538, La Palma 86, Lanzarote 79, Fuerteventura 41, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 80 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 32 in Gran Canaria, and 3 in Lanzarote.
Meanwhile, the Government has announced that it will begin a National Epidemiological Study of SARS-CoV2 infection (this is the virus that causes covid19). The study, agreed yesterday in a meeting of the National Health System’s Interterritorial Council, will be carried out by the Spanish Health Department and the Carlos III Health Institute in conjunction with the regional Health Departments. The study is intended to establish the percentage of the population that has developed antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, a factor known as the “seroprevalence”.
The information obtained will be of enormous relevance for public health decision-making in Spain as a whole, and will involve more than 36,000 Spanish households randomly selected in collaboration with the National Institute of Statistics (INE) to ensure that the sample will have participants of all age groups and geographical locations. At least 60,000 people will be invited to participate in the study which has been designed in accordance with WHO recommendations for seroprevalence studies against SARS-CoV-2. Those taking part will answer a short questionnaire which will be examined alongside double serological tests to be performed either at home or in health centres to determine if they have antibodies to the virus.
Finally, the national Parliament has been in session already today and we can expect to hear later today or tomorrow that the Estado de Alarma has been extended, and with what specific measures.
Updated 9pm, 21/4: The Spanish Cabinet has today approved the measures which will be presented to Parliament, and which if approved, as is likely, will involve an extension of the State of Emergency to midnight at the end of 9 May (00.00h 10 May). Given the furore and speculation that any extension might involve an easing of restrictions in some parts of the country including the Canaries, some might be disappointed by the actual measures, but the Government says that the public’s compliance with the lockdown so far has had such an effect it would be irresponsible to risk progress now.
One of the most striking measures will involve a relaxation of the rules for children up to the age of 14. They will have some freedom returned to them, but under conditions which, ministers say, have been developed strictly in line with expert scientific advice, and which will be clarified and explained in their final form in coming days. The relaxation in this respect will apply from 26 April, the end of the current extension to the State of Emergency.
The Government stresses that no other containment measures are being relaxed, and called on the public to continue to exercise its patience and behave as responsibly as it has so far in order to ensure the safety of all. There will, however, be further financial and fiscal measures to support the economy and channel resources as necessary.
There is no indication, at this stage at least, that any region-specific measures will be adopted. The regional authorities had suggested that the Canaries (and the Balearic Islands) might enjoy a relaxation of the lockdown before the rest of Spain but piecemeal solutions are not something the national Government has indicated it is considering. And so for us all, especially those without young children, the situation will remain as it has been now for another fortnight, with the public only able to go out for essential reasons, including going to work in businesses that are able to operate but not necessarily open to the public.
Parliament could vote as early as tomorrow on the Cabinet’s proposals.
Updated 5pm, 21/4: Clio’s and my latest podcast is HERE …. given the acronym I’m increasingly failing to stop myself calling it a Two Women In Tenerife-cast, but I feel it’s very likely to end up as a Twitcast in the future!!
Updated 21 April: Sanidad says that as of 8pm last evening they had registered a further 18 cases bringing the total recorded in the Canaries to 2,085. Of these, 513 are health professionals, eight more than yesterday; with a medical workforce of 30,000 this represents a rate of 1.71%. Those needing hospital admission have risen from 826 to 837, with 164 requiring Intensive Care Unit treatment, another day in which there was just one admission to an ICU.
Sadly, two more have died bringing our total to 121, but recorded recoveries have leapt from 813 to 878: our active cases are therefore down again, to 1,086. By island, Tenerife has 1,331 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 535, La Palma 86, Lanzarote 79, Fuerteventura 41, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are 80 in Tenerife, 6 in La Palma, 32 in Gran Canaria, and 3 in Lanzarote.
You’ll remember I’m sure my reports of pregnant women admitted suffering from the virus. Miriam was the first one, in Gran Canaria, and she gave birth by Caesarian Section at the end of March. Sanidad has now shown her, recovered, and able at last to hold her baby boy who was born in perfect health. Amidst the turmoil, and the grief, life goes on, as do its joys. Here is Miriam, with her partner Albert, a couple of the medics closely involved with her case, and of course little Nauzet himself. (click to enlarge)
Updated 20 April: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show an increase of 20 bringing the total recorded in the Canaries to 2,067. Of these, 505 are health professionals, four more than yesterday; 826 have needed hospital admission, 163 of whom have needed treatment in Intensive Care Units, just one more than yesterday. The best news though is that we have no more deaths to record in the previous 24 hours: our fatalities remain at 119. Recorded recoveries have again jumped, up from 789 to 813, and our active cases are down again, to 1,135. By island, Tenerife has 1,319 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 530, La Palma 85, Lanzarote 79, Fuerteventura 41, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3.
Updated 19 April: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show an increase of just 12 cases bringing the total recorded in the Canaries to 2,047. Of these, 825 have needed hospital admission, 162 of whom have needed treatment in Intensive Care Units, just two more than yesterday. Sadly, four more have died so our fatalities now total 119. Recorded recoveries have risen by just four today, and so stand at 789, a number that Sanidad confirms for the avoidance of doubt does not just reflect hospital releases, but includes anyone who has recovered after being in isolation at home. Active cases in the islands therefore stand at 1,139.
The figures include 501 health professionals, one more than yesterday: they represent a rate of 1.6% given health personnel numbers of 30,000. By island, Tenerife has 1,305 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 525, La Palma 84, Lanzarote 79, Fuerteventura 41, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 79, Gran Canaria 31, La Palma 6, and Lanzarote 3, and Sanidad’s figures show that by a considerable margin the majority have been in their 70s and 80s, many also with underlying health conditions.
Updated 7pm, 18/4: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has said this evening that he will request a further extension to the State of Emergency which currently ends on 26 April. Sánchez said that he will ask Parliament to approve an extension to 10 May but possibly with some relaxation of some measures still to be confirmed. The main thing, Sánchez said, was that any relaxation of measures must be “cautious and progressive”.
The PM praised the families of those who have been victims of the virus, and promised them that there will come a time when their dead will be given the full honours to which they are entitled. He also praised the dedication of medical personnel and the public generally, for their commitment to keeping Spain as safe as possible. Sánchez insisted, however, that the situation remains fragile and that premature solutions cannot be risked. He continued, however, that “expert government advisers think that we might be able to relax one of the lockdown conditions concerning children” from 27 April, with children possibly allowed to leave home subject to conditions still to be confirmed.
For the moment, in any case, we seem likely to be under a State of Emergency in the fullest sense until 10 May, and after that, de-escalation will be considered – and halted if any risks suggest that measures have been insufficiently prudent.
Updated 18 April: Sanidad says that figures to 8pm last evening show an increase of 26 to a total of 2035 recorded cases in the Canaries. Of these, 822 have needed hospital admission, 160 of whom have needed treatment in Intensive Care Units, one more than yesterday. Sadly, four more have died so our fatalities now total 115. Recorded recoveries, however, have once more leapt, up 55 from 730 to 785. Active cases have fallen again and are now down to 1,135, the lowest level since late March. The figures include 500 health professionals, ten more than yesterday: they represent a rate of 1.6% given health personnel numbers of 30,000. By island, Tenerife has 1,298 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 523, La Palma 83, Lanzarote 77, Fuerteventura 41, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 76, Gran Canaria 30, La Palma 6, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 7pm, 17/4: HERE is today’s covidcast from Clio and me.
Updated 17 April: Sanidad’s updated figures today show an increase of 21 as of 8pm last night to a total of 2009 recorded cases in the Canaries. Of these, 811 have needed hospital admission, with three more patients needing treatment in Intensive Care Units bringing that total to 159. Sadly, four more have died so our fatalities now total 111. Recorded recoveries have made a huge leap, however, up from 622 to 730, a jump of 108 in the last 48 hours, meaning that the active cases have fallen again now down to 1,168, the lowest level since the end of March. The figures include 490 health professionals, out of a personnel of 30,000, a rate of 1.6%. By island, Tenerife has 1,282 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 516, La Palma 83, Lanzarote 77, Fuerteventura 38, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 74, Gran Canaria 29, La Palma 5, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 9pm, 16/4: I don’t know about you but it brings tears to my eyes, as it does to one of the nurses. This is the first patient successfully to leave a UMI in the Canaries. That’s not just an Intensive Care Unit but an Intensive Medical Unit – it’s where they go to be ventilated. They are critically ill at that point. And this is the first in these islands to leave one alive. It’s in the Hospital Universitario Insular de Gran Canaria. As Sanidad says, ¡Ánimo y a seguir recuperándose en planta! (Come on!!!! and now continue recovery on the ward).
👏🏥Sale de la UMI del Hospital Universitario Insular de Gran Canaria la primera paciente con #COVID19 crítica de Canarias.
— Sanidad Gobcan (@SanidadGobCan) April 16, 2020
Updated 5pm, 16/4: There is increasing concern amongst a growing numbers of visitors who aren’t able to return to the UK but need medication which they get by prescription at home. The Consulate has now issued the following advice:
To obtain prescription medicine in the Canary islands as a visitor, you must telephone 012 and you will be informed where the nearest health centre is/what steps you need to take. If you are experiencing problems organising replacement medication and need medication urgently, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and put “PLEASE CONTACT ME – MEDICATION” in the subject line.
Updated 16 April: Sanidad says that as of 8pm last night a total of 1,988 cases have been recorded in the Canaries, a rise of 13 on the previous figures. Of these, 802 have needed hospital admission, with four more patients needing treatment in Intensive Care Units bringing that total to 156. Sadly, two more have died so our fatalities now total 107. By island, Tenerife has 1,268 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 510, La Palma 83, Lanzarote 76, Fuerteventura 38, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 71, Gran Canaria 28, La Palma 5, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 3pm, 15/4: Sanidad’s figures that to 8pm last night show a total of 1,975 cases, a rise of 17 on the previous 24 hour period. Of these, 781 have needed hospital admission, with five more patients needing treatment in Intensive Care Units: that number is now 152. Sadly, three more have died taking our total to 105 fatalities, but recoveries have jumped again, up 33 from 589 to 622. This means that the total of active cases in the Canaries is down again, now to 1248. By island, Tenerife has 1,258 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 507, La Palma 83, Lanzarote 76, Fuerteventura 38, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 70, Gran Canaria 27, La Palma 5, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 15 April: Just to be absolutely clear about Spain’s priorities, Pedro Sánchez today says:
No debemos contraponer salud y economía. El Gobierno está dando una respuesta social a la crisis del covid19, articulando una red que protege a las familias y al tejido productivo de nuestro país. Seguiremos trabajando para que nadie quede atrás.
We must not play health off against the economy. The Government is responding to social needs in the covid19 crisis, formulating a network that protects families and the country’s economic fabric. We will continue working to ensure that no one is left behind.
No debemos contraponer salud y economía. El Gobierno está dando una respuesta social a la crisis del #COVID19, articulando una red que protege a las familias y al tejido productivo de nuestro país. Seguiremos trabajando para que nadie quede atrás.#EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos pic.twitter.com/9I0uXRefLB— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) April 15, 2020
Updated 10pm, 14/4: Canarian President Ángel Torres has chaired a meeting of the Health Emergency Committee today to consolidate and coordinate the next steps in the crisis. They will be unrolling more testing but at present for healthcare professionals, frontline personnel, and population groups considered at risk.
The Committee have also started to consider how the Canaries should proceed once the national Government lifts the State of Emergency and the lockdown is lifted. The Government has already clarified that it is not looking for a rapid return of tourism to these islands. They are keenly aware of the economic cost of this policy but feel that our isolation has been a key factor in the Canaries being so lightly affected, relatively, in terms of Spanish figures. They are in no hurry to launch us back into full tourism mode and are instead requesting negotiations on making good, at least in part, the shortfall to the Canarian economy caused by a summer without much if any tourism.
The policy chimes with that outlined in the last few days by EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen where she cautioned against making holiday plans anywhere in Europe until at least the end of August. This alone should stifle some of the wilder ideas currently doing the rounds on social media, such as the Canaries reopening to tourists next week, but the Canarian Government has explicitly ruled it out for good measure.
The Government also reiterated that any measures to relax the lockdown or loosen it for some sectors will not be taken regionally, nor unilaterally. Whatever happens, the Government confirms, will be the result of prior agreement between central and regional authorities.
Part of the plans being considered for “the day after” are what he called a great pact of reconstruction, with no-one left behind, a kind of regional Marshall Plan to help the islands recover from the social and economic crisis generated by the covid19. Torres envisages a grand alliance of all sectors of Canarian society, and then from a unified base create a lifeline through to Spain and the EU for the necessary support. One gets the clear feeling that not only will things not return to normal any time soon, they might return, when they do, to a normal that looks rather different.
Updated 5pm, 14/4: HERE is Clio’s and my latest podcast … for the moment a “covidcast” but it does look like it will become a regular feature in whatever passes for normal after we get “back to normal”.
Updated 14 April: Sanidad says that to 8pm last night they have recorded 1,958 cases, a rise of 14 on the previous 24 hour period. Of these, 771 have needed hospital admission, with two more patients needing treatment in Intensive Care Units: that number is now 147. Sadly, however, six more have died taking our total over a dreaded psychological marker: we are now at 102 fatalities. Recoveries, however, have made a great leap, up 131 from 458 to 589. This means that the total of active cases in the Canaries is down to 1267, the lowest in the last fortnight. By island, Tenerife has 1,245 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 503, La Palma 83, Lanzarote 76, Fuerteventura 38, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 69, Gran Canaria 26, La Palma 4, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 5pm, 13/4: Again to try to give a flavour of how local areas are adapting to the situation, we can look at Adeje which has today reviewed the measures in place following the end of the extra decree imposing restrictions on all but essential services. Local services to attend the needs of all residents, especially those who are socially vulnerable, have been in place throughout the last few weeks and the council asks that municipal services are only used in urgent and essential situations, and only via appointment. The council’s measures have been detailed in English HERE by Clio O’Flynn.
Updated 3pm, 13/4: Sanidad’s figures to 8pm last evening show a rise of 26 cases, all but three in Tenerife, to a total of 1944. Of these, 763 have needed hospital admission, with only more patient needing treatment in Intensive Care Units: that number is now 145. Sadly, however, after an Easter weekend without any fatalities, sadly one more person has become a victim of the virus, bringing our total of fatalities to 96. We can continue to be encouraged, though, by the number of recoveries which is up again from 447 to 458. This means that the total of active cases in the Canaries is 1,390. By island, Tenerife has 1,237 recorded cases, Gran Canaria 500, La Palma 80, Lanzarote 76, Fuerteventura 38, La Gomera 10, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 63, Gran Canaria 26, La Palma 4, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 1pm, 13/4: The Guardia Civil says that a document circulating widely on social media claiming to present the list of permitted activities under the State of Emergency is NOT OFFICIAL. The genuine list of activities which may be carried out is in the official state bulletin publication of the Estado de Alarma HERE.
Updated 13 April: An amendment was made late last evening to the regulations for work resuming today after the Lockdown Extra decree shutting all but essential services came to an end. The Government has reimposed a ban on all building work where someone unrelated to the works is living or working. The new order, published HERE, is intended to avoid contact between workers and residents to reduce the chances of spreading infection. Works that are considered urgent or are repairs to breakdowns, however, are permitted.
Updated 9pm, 12/4: Again I’m breaking my “afternoons only” detailed figures to say that we now have two days without a single death in the Canaries. We have 28 more cases today, 23 of them in Tenerife, and no more fatalities. Easter weekend without losing anyone to this virus. Now it really does feel miraculous, however temporarily.
Updated 6pm, 12/4: Here is Pedro Sánchez himself explaining that whatever we might read or hear about “de-escalation”, or a relaxation of the lockdown, is not true. At the moment, we remain in a State of Emergency, currently to (at least) 26 April, and there is no relaxation AT ALL of the measures.
What has actually come to an end is the extra piece of legislation shutting down all non-essential services. That was in place for a fortnight and was a measure additional to the Estado de Alarma. That extra measure is now over, but this just means we’re back to where we were before it was introduced with the State of Emergency still fully in place.
This means that we can only go out for essential purposes, businesses might be able to open but not necessarily to the public, and some cannot open at all if they’re leisure establishments like restaurants or bars.
There will come a time – hopefully not too far away – when we will start to look at “de-escalation” but it is not yet. And when it starts, it could start bit by bit, measure by measure (Shakespeare notwithstanding) … so it appears they are not considering a sudden lifting of all measures at any point (nor, apparently, a region by region approach). The relaxation of measures, whenever they come and whatever form they take, will be in line with scientific advice.
Here is the PM, who says that we will go into the de-escalation phase if we gain ground against the virus and the health system can cope. Otherwise, the State of Emergency restrictions will be maintained and, the PM stresses, could even be reinforced … because the principal consideration is the health and lives of the people.
España no está en fase de desescalada. Solo si ganamos terreno al virus y el sistema de salud se recupera avanzaremos en esa fase. Y si no es así, mantendremos o reforzaremos las restricciones.— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) April 12, 2020
Lo primero siempre será la salud y la vida de la ciudadanía.#EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos pic.twitter.com/UhuAmpey9u
Updated 12 April: Sanidad has confirmed the figures to 8pm last evening which show a rise of 31 cases, as we saw last night all in Tenerife, to a total of 1918. Of these, 758 have needed hospital admission, with no further patients needing treatment in Intensive Care Units: that number remains at 144. As we also saw last night, no further fatalities were recorded in the 24 hour period to 8pm last evening: the sad death toll remains at 95, but we can take great encouragement from that “remains at”, as we do from the numbers in ICUs not increasing.
Also encouraging is the number of recoveries, up again from 432 to 447. This means that the total of active cases in the Canaries is 1,376. By island, Tenerife has recorded 1,226 cases, Gran Canaria 495, La Palma 71, Lanzarote 76, Fuerteventura 38, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3 (these numbers are one short of the total and have been redistributed to islands where no cases have been recorded over the last 24 hours, so presumably they are still restructuring their recording of cases by place of declaration rather than residence). Deaths per island are as yesterday’s post, mercifully: Tenerife 62, Gran Canaria 26, La Palma 4, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 11pm, 11/4: As I explained, I am posting figures now in the afternoons but I couldn’t close tonight without this. Over the last 24 hours there have been no deaths in the Canaries, and only 31 new cases, all in Tenerife. It won’t just keep getting better, of couse, but for today, on the verge of Easter Sunday, this feels miraculous.
Updated 11 April: Sanidad has confirmed the figures to 8pm last evening which show a rise of 29 recorded cases to 1,887, with 745 needing hospital admission, 144 of them in Intensive Care Units. Sadly, another person has died, bringing the total of fatalities to 95, but we now have a big jump of a further 46 recoveries bringing the total to 432. This means that the total of active cases in the Canaries is down again, now to 1,360. By island, Tenerife has recorded 1,216 cases, Gran Canaria 485, La Palma 71, Lanzarote 63, Fuerteventura 37, La Gomera 7, and El Hierro 3 (five cases are missing in this breakdown when compared with the total recorded for the Canaries as a whole). Deaths per island are Tenerife 62, Gran Canaria 26, La Palma 4, and Lanzarote 3.
Updated 6pm, 10/4: The value of their use is not uncontroversial, but national Health Secretary Salvador Illa has said that facemasks should be worn by anyone using public transport after businesses reopen on Monday after the lifting of the lockdown extra measures. The Government will make the masks available on public transport and in bus terminals etc., and says that these will be simple hygiene masks and not those used for frontline medical personnel. Despite Sanidad’s official stance that these masks are not effective or necessary, the advice has been issued as a result of recommendations from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
Updated 10 April: Sanidad has confirmed the figures to 8pm last evening which show a rise of 24 recorded cases to 1,858, with 738 needing hospital admission, 141 of them in Intensive Care Units. Sadly another two have died, bringing the total of fatalities to 94, but we now have a further seven recoveries bringing the total to 386. This means that we have a total of 1,378 active cases in the Canaries. By island, Tenerife has recorded 1,210 cases, Gran Canaria 468, La Palma 70, Lanzarote 64, Fuerteventura 37, La Gomera 7, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 61, Gran Canaria 26, La Palma 4, and Lanzarote 3.
Sanidad also reminds the public of the official Canaries-wide analytical tool HERE, while nationally, Health Secretary Salvador Illa says this afternoon that the second batch of a million rapid tests will be delivered to the autonomous regions tomorrow, with Spain itself expecting an imminent delivery of 12.5m masks and other supplies which will also be distributed to the regions.
Illa said that we are still not yet coming down from the peak and the curve still needs to be flattened. It is impossible to say whether we are at the peak until we start to come down from it, of course, and Illa says that State of Emergency measures will therefore remain in place. As we know, it was extended last night to the end of 25 April (00.00h 26 April), and Illa has confirmed this means the continued closure of all educational centres, leisure establishments, and public offices.
The minister reminded the public, too, that the “lockdown extra” decree is now ended so from Monday work can resume for those businesses which cannot operate through telematic means. Even though businesses might reopen, though, we will still be under State of Emergency rules which require us to remain isolated and indoors, with just the following exceptions:
- to buy food, medicines or other basic necessities (like loo rolls, not like nail varnish)
- to go to the doctor or medical establishments (this includes dentists for urgent work and opticians but they are allowed not to open)
- to go to work
- to go home after being out for a permitted reason
- to provide assistance and care to the elderly, children, dependents, or people who are disabled or vulnerable
- to go to banks and insurance offices (post offices are also open)
- where there is compelling reason or need (this is on the level of the house being on fire not that of feeling a need to stretch the legs)
- for any other similar activity
- to take out a dog for a wee or to do its business but no more
- to feed colonies of stray animals
We can go on foot or by car but we must be alone, and where we go must be the nearest sensible option – i.e. we can go past small shops to get to a supermarket but we can’t go past two supermarkets to get to one we prefer.
We can only go out with another person if we are helping someone disabled, elderly, or are accompanying a young child – supermarkets will only break the one shopper at a time rule for such cases too. If this requires a car journey, the second person must sit in the rear behind the passenger seat to maximise distance.
Updated 11pm, 9/4: The published confirmation of the extension of the Estado de Alarma until the end of 25 April (00.00h of 26 April) is HERE.
Updated 7.30pm, 9/4: The Spanish Parliament has this evening approved the extension of the State of Emergency to the end of 25 April.
Updated 4.30pm, 9/4: I’ve been asked by several readers now to return to giving my own (official released) figures rather than referring to the Canarian Government’s online database, so I’ll now start posting the afternoon confirmed and detailed figures from Sanidad as registered by 8pm the previous evening.
So today, we have a total of 1,834 cases recorded, with 730 needing hospital admission, 140 of them in Intensive Care Units. Sadly 92 have died, but the Government is taking great encouragement from the 379 who have now recovered, almost four times the number of fatalities. By island, 1,196 cases have been recorded in Tenerife, 457 in Gran Canaria, 70 in La Palma, 64 in Lanzarote, 37 in Fuerteventura, 7 in La Gomera, and 3 in El Hierro. Deaths per island are 59 in Tenerife, 26 in Gran Canaria, 4 in La Palma, and 3 in Lanzarote.
Updated 4pm, 9/4: The third Covidcast from Clio O’Flynn and me is HERE.
Updated 9 April: The latest confirmed figures for the Canaries show a rise of 72 cases bringing the total recorded to 1,834, with 730 needing hospital admission, 140 in ICU. Recoveries now number 359, a statistic that is hugely encouraging to the authorities since it is roughly four times the number of those who have died, a sad total of 92. Active cases now therefore number 1,383. For more specific detail, and island by island information, please see the Canarian Government’s database, updated minute-by-minute, HERE – just click on the box “Datos Covid19”.
In Madrid, meanwhile, the Parliamentary debate is already underway on the extension of the State of Emergency. The formal announcement that it has been extended will come later, together with the official publication of the measures which are likely to remain the same. There is much talk about whether this will be the final extension or not, and whether this or a next one might relax some prohibitions.
Obviously the Government is considering its measures on the basis of scientific advice, and the noise from the regions is contributing to its deliberations as well as putting a bit of pressure on for particular interests in different parts of Spain. As soon as anything is confirmed and firmly announced, of course I’ll publish the information.
Updated 6pm, 8/4: Tomorrow, the “lockdown extra” law regulating recoverable paid leave for employees whose services are not deemed essential, and who are therefore required to remain at home to reduce public movement during the covid19 outbreak, comes to an end. The measure was only put in place until 9 April because from tomorrow Easter bank holidays mean businesses closing in any case, and then there’s the weekend. And so, the measures are really going to be obviously lifted from Monday.
The measures were based on scientific recommendations about flattening the curve, and they seem to have been effective in that respect and so will not be renewed. Please be very clear that this is the “lockdown extra” law, NOT the State of Emergency, which remains in place, and indeed will be extended to the end of 25 April after being approved by Congress tomorrow.
From Monday, therefore, businesses deemed non-essential will be able to reopen but they might not be open to the public. Indeed, since the State of Emergency is going to remain in place we are still restricted on what we can leave the house for in any case. Here is a reminder:
- to buy food, medicines or other basic necessities (like loo rolls, not like nail varnish)
- to go to work
- to go home after being out for a permitted reason
- to go to banks and insurance offices (post offices are also open)
- for any other similar activity
- to take out a dog for a wee or to do its business but no more
- to feed colonies of stray animals
We can go on foot or by car but we must be alone, and where we go must be the nearest sensible option – i.e. we can go past small shops to get to a supermarket but we can’t go past two supermarkets to get to one we prefer.
We can only go out with another person if we are helping someone disabled, elderly, or are accompanying a young child – supermarkets will only break the one shopper at a time rule for such cases too.
If we are in a car, the second person must sit in the rear behind the passenger seat to maximise distance. This is not “silly”: some have told me that couples are far closer at home but legislation in an emergency cannot take account of every single circumstance, and the rule applies across the board and so covers lifts from strangers and taxi journeys too.
The only time there may be more than two in a car is if the occupants are returning a vehicle to the airport to leave Spain: this includes taxis but drivers might refuse to carry more than one passenger.
Updated 8 April: Sanidad has confirmed today the current figures are 1,758 cases, with 703 requiring hospital treatment, 138 in ICU. There have been 91 deaths, and 249 recoveries. By island, Tenerife has 1,140 registered cases, Gran Canaria 441, La Palma 68, Lanzarote 63, Fuerteventura 36, La Gomera 7, and El Hierro 3. Deaths per island are Tenerife 59, Gran Canaria, 25, La Palma 4, and Lanzarote 3. Sanidad says that the data are four fewer than that stated last night as a result of what is clearly a constant check on how the statistics are recorded and to ensure accuracy.
Updated 11pm, 7/4: The latest figures tonight for the last 24 hours show 37 new cases, 2 deaths, and 63 recoveries. There are now 1,762 recorded cases here, 91 deaths, and 249 recoveries, leaving 1,422 active cases in these islands. More detail tomorrow.
Updated 9pm, 7/4: Sanidad has made its data on the management and monitoring of the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in the Canaries available to the public. The data include the main parameters for studying and understanding the pandemic situation in the archipelago. I don’t pretend to understand the technology but it is said to use ESRI, the world standard for statistical visualization of the evolution of the virus. The information shown comes from the Canarian epidemiological database which manages obligatory notifiable diseases, as well as from the patients’ health card information and the primary care and specialized care databases. All data are duly anonymized for statistical treatment, in compliance with data protection legislation.
The Canarian Government says that the tool has been designed under Public Administration supervision in coordination with the Public Health authorities and the General Directorate of Research. It is part of Sanidad’s digital crisis management initiative, and can be accessed HERE: click on the box marked “Datos Covid19” and it will open a new window for the data.
Updated 7 April: Clearly the new way of counting figures, together with the correlating of figures coming in from all directions, is proving a bit of a challenge. Sanidad has said today, however, that it can confirm the accumulated cases in the Canaries as 1,725. Sadly, there are now 89 deaths, but recoveries are recorded as 186, and it is these increasing numbers of recoveries that are giving the authorities their greatest hope. Those requiring admission to hospital number 689, with 137 needing ICU treatment. By island, Tenerife has 1,122 registered cases, Gran Canaria 444, La Palma 67, Lanzarote 61, Fuerteventura 23, La Gomera 7, and El Hierro 1. Deaths per island are Tenerife 59, Gran Canaria, 25, La Palma 3, and Lanzarote 2.
Updated 11pm, 6/4: As Boris Johnson is admitted to St Thomas’ Intensive Care Unit, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez sent a message expressing his solidarity and hopes for a quick recovery for the British PM. Sánchez said tonight:
These are difficult days for our countries, but from fortitude and unity we will manage to win this battle. My best wishes to all the British people.
Sánchez has been joined by other major political figures in wishing Boris Johnson well. Emmanuel Macron of France said that he sent all his support not only to Johnson but to his family and the British people at this difficult moment. He wished him a speedy recovery at this testing time. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that her thoughts are with PM Johnson and his family, and that she wished him a speedy and full recovery. In the US, President Trump said that Americans are praying for the strong and resolute Boris Johnson, a good friend to him personally and to the USA too.
In the UK, David Cameron said that he was thinking of Johnson and his family tonight. The former British PM said “Get well soon. You are in great hands and we all want you safe, well and back in 10 Downing Street”. The Labour Party’s new leader Sir Keir Starmer said that the whole country’s thoughts were with Johnson and his family, while Scottish FM Nicola Sturgeon said that her thoughts are with the PM and his family, and that she was sending him every good wish.
Here, meanwhile Sanidad has announced figures that put a brake on the downward trend of the last couple of days or so. Tonight, there are 81 new cases bringing the total in the Canaries to 1,730. Thankfully, however, recoveries have again jumped, up 35 to 192. Sadly there are three more deaths from the virus to record in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 88.
Updated 7pm, 6/4: I am getting more than a few concerned enquiries from people under financial and employment stresses, and this is a field I have always passed on to those who specialise in such matters. This is the best I can offer here, and I hope it helps.
- If you have been made temporarily redundant (ERTE), your employer will organize everything for you;
- if you are self-employed and stop working, contact your mutua;
- without an ERTE, if your employment is affected, contact the State Employment Office SEPE on 922 990 579 or 900 812 400.
Updated 6 April: Sanidad has confirmed last night’s figures of 1,649 and the fatalities which now number 85. Of the 1,649 accumulated cases, 651 have required hospital treatment, 133 in ICU. Those recovered now number 157, leaving 1,407 active cases in the Canaries.
Sanidad says that the presentation of individual island figures has been modified and improved: from the profusion of data, the information from now on will be analysed by cases according to the place of declaration and not place of residence. Sanidad says that there are people resident on one island with a health card registered on another, which complicates the data and its analysis. There might therefore appear to be some anomaly today for those who are making their own detailed assessment of figures.
So, for today, by island, Tenerife has now broken the 1000 barrier with 1,080 registered cases, Gran Canaria 411, La Palma 66, Lanzarote 58, Fuerteventura 23, La Gomera 7, and El Hierro 1. Deaths per island are Tenerife 56, Gran Canaria, 24, La Palma 3, and Lanzarote 2.
Updated 11pm, 5/4: Sanidad says tonight that five more people have died from the virus in the last 24 hours, but this period also has the lowest number of positive cases detected in a single day for weeks, just 27 new cases over the past 24 hours. We have also had another jump in recoveries, up 20 from 137 to 157. This means a total of 1,649 cases in all in the Canaries and 85 fatalities.
Updated 1pm, 5/4: Sanidad has confirmed last night’s figures of 1,622, and the fatalities which now number 80. Of the 1,622 accumulated cases, 644 have required hospital treatment, 129 in ICU. Those recovered now number 137, leaving 1,405 active cases in the Canaries. By island, Tenerife has registered 971 cases, Gran Canaria 467, Fuerteventura 35, Lanzarote 69, La Palma 69, El Hierro 3, and La Gomera 8. Deaths per island are Tenerife 51, Gran Canaria, 22, Lanzarote 3, and La Palma 4.
Updated 5 April: The Europe Director of the WHO, Hans Kluge, has said today that the mission to Spain concluded yesterday. Kluge said that he was deeply impressed by the heroism of frontline workers, the solidarity of people under the lockdown, and what he said was the inspiring resolve of the Spanish Government which was justified in its careful optimism as a result of its bold measures, innovative approaches, and the courageous decisions of Spanish Health minister Salvador Illa.
Updated 11pm, 4/4: Sanidad’s figures tonight show 58 more cases over the past 24 hours, and two more victims: this means a total of 1,622 cases in all in the Canaries and 80 deaths. Recoveries have risen from 123 to 137 … it is awful but it feels like this is moving in the right direction, and indeed President Torres said on Tuesday that we might be at the peak within around a week. Let’s hope!
Updated 2pm, 4/4: Sanidad has confirmed last night’s figures of 1,564, and the fatatities which now number 78. Of the 1,564 accumulated cases, 632 have required hospital treatment, 128 in ICU. Those recovered now number 123, leaving 1,363 active cases in the Canaries. By island, Tenerife has registered 946 cases, Gran Canaria 435, Fuerteventura 35, Lanzarote 68, La Palma 69, El Hierro 3, and La Gomera 8. Deaths per island are Tenerife 51, Gran Canaria, 21, Lanzarote 3, and La Palma 3.
Meanwhile, Pedro Sánchez has confirmed that expert scientific advisors have recommended that the State of Emergency should be extended. Sánchez therefore says that he will advise Cabinet on Tuesday and assuming their agreement, the matter will go back to Congress (Parliament) later this coming week for approval of an extension to the end of 25 April.
Updated 1pm, 4/4: A 78-year-old woman has been killed by her husband in Gran Canaria. He has confessed to the killing. As has been said previously, anyone living with someone who abuses them in any way is in increased danger for several reasons under a lockdown situation. Please remember that a simple “just going to the chemist” is enough to make you safe – go to your nearest chemist, it is a fully legitimate reason to be out and about. Ask the pharmacist for a Facemask19 – for covid”19″: in Spanish it’s “mascarilla 19” … they will know to ring 112 on your behalf. Covid19 is a killer – don’t let a violent partner get you instead.
Updated 4 April: Another reminder, it’s apparently still not clear. These are the things we are allowed out for under the State of Emergency:
- to buy food, medicines or other basic necessities (like loo rolls, not like nail varnish)
- to go to work (assuming the job comes under the list of essential services)
- to go home after being out for a permitted reason
- to go to banks and insurance offices (post offices are also open)
- for any other similar activity
- to take out a dog for a wee or to do its business but no more
- to feed colonies of stray animals
We can go on foot or by car but we must be alone, and where we go must be the nearest sensible option – i.e. we can go past small shops to get to a supermarket but we can’t go past two supermarkets to get to one we prefer.
We can only go out with another person if we are helping someone disabled, elderly, or are accompanying a young child – supermarkets will only break the one shopper at a time rule for such cases too.
If we are in a car, the second person must sit in the rear behind the passenger seat to maximise distance. This is not “silly”: some have told me that couples are far closer at home but legislation in an emergency cannot take account of every single circumstance, and the rule applies across the board and so covers lifts from strangers and taxi journeys too.
The only time there may be more than two in a car is if the occupants are returning a vehicle to the airport to leave Spain: this includes taxis but drivers might refuse to carry more than one passenger.
The State of Emergency is imposed until the end of 11 April, a week today. Over the course of the next week we are likely to be told that it is to be extended, probably for another fortnight – and that might not be the end of it either. Everything else currently is speculation based on the likelihood, known from the outset, that there will have to be an extension.
Updated 11.30pm, 3/4: A brief message again tonight from Pedro Sánchez. Spain’s Prime Minister says:
Gracias de corazón. Vuestra solidaridad con España nos anima en la lucha contra la pandemia del covid19. Son tiempos difíciles, pero desde la generosidad y la disciplina, superaremos esta batalla y saldremos más fuertes y mejores.
The PM said it twice, in English too. He has not forgotten we are here. His message for us too is:
Thanks from my heart. Your solidarity with Spain encourages us to keep up the fight against the covid19 pandemic. These are hard times but thru discipline and generosity we will win this battle and come out stronger and better.
Updated 11pm, 3/4: Sanidad says tonight that we have had 74 new cases over the past 24 hours, though five more people have succumbed to the virus leaving 78 fatalities now in the Canaries. Recoveries, however, have jumped from 102 to 123 in the same period. There is now a total of 1,564 recorded cases in the islands. More details tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Canarian Government is ensuring that medical staff can work without endangering their families by providing for health personnel to be accommodated in placements including schools and hotels if they have been diagnosed with or show symptoms of the virus, or if their level of exposure puts their families at risk. Sanidad says that the measures have been in place for several days already, and staff simply need to ask: the accommodation will be provided for them.
Updated 5pm, 3/4: Clio O’Flynn and I have started what we hope will be a regular twice-weekly podcast – a covidcast – so that people can just have a listen to something a little more discursive than is possible in posted updates. We hope you’ll enjoy them. The first is HERE.
Updated 3 April: Sanidad has confirmed last night’s figures of 1,490, and the fatatities which now number 73. Of the 1,490 accumulated cases, 605 have required hospital treatment, 120 in ICU. There has been another jump in recoveries, up from 94 to 102, leaving 1,315 active cases in the Canaries. By island, Tenerife has registered 893 cases, Gran Canaria 416, Fuerteventura 34, Lanzarote 67, La Palma 69, El Hierro 3, and La Gomera 8. Deaths per island are Tenerife 48, Gran Canaria, 19, Lanzarote 3, and La Palma 3.
Updated 10pm, 2/4: There have been 46 new cases in the last 24 hours, Sanidad says tonight, the lowest rise in the last fortnight. Sadly, five more have become victims of the virus, and so we have 1,490 recorded cases and 73 have died. Detail tomorrow.
Updated 2pm, 2/4: Sanidad has confirmed last night’s figures of 1,444, and the fatatities which now number 68. Of the 1,444 accumulated cases, 566 have required hospital treatment, 113 in ICU. There has been a jump in recoveries, up from 72 to 94, leaving 1,282 active cases in the Canaries. By island, Tenerife has registered 870 cases, Gran Canaria 396, Fuerteventura 33, Lanzarote 65, La Palma 69, El Hierro 3, and La Gomera 8. Deaths per island are Tenerife 44, Gran Canaria, 19, Lanzarote 3, and La Palma 2.
Updated 2 April: The Spanish Government’s information for tenants concerned about their rights, paying their rent, evictions, is in English HERE, and thanks to Diana McGowan, the way tenants can access help with rent payments is now explained in English in easy to understand form; THIS is a pretty definitive explanation of who is entitled, what is needed, where it’s obtained from, and where it’s taken for what assistance.
Updated 11pm, 1/4: Sanidad says tonight that six more people have died in the last 24 hours bringing the number of fatalities to 68. The number of cases has also risen to 1,444, a rise of 64 in the same period. As usual there’ll be more detail on these figures tomorrow.
Meanwhile, regional President Ángel Torres has said this evening that the Canaries has received two deliveries today of medical supplies to help with the outbreak. We now have some 1.5 million masks, 8,200 diagnostic kits, 4,000 protective glasses for health personnel and 500,000 disposable nitrile gloves (like latex but puncture resistent). The president thanked the group of Canarian businessmen behind the supplies. Another delivery was the product of inter-island cooperation, with the Fuerteventura Cabildo collaborating in the provision of 50,000 Covid-19 diagnostic kits. More materials will be arriving in coming days, directly provisioned by the Canarian Government from a €16m fund for the purchase of various supplies.
Torres explained that the action plan for testing is to start with the most vulnerable groups, and so priority will be given to those who have symptoms, to medical- and social-health personnel, to the 8,300 residents in old people’s homes in the Canaries, as well as those in centres for functional diversity. The rest of the material, including masks, gloves, personal protection equipment and gowns, will be provided to medical- and social-health personnel and other essential groups such as police and bomberos, as well as those carrying out cleaning and disinfection.
To be clear, this is all in addition to the considerable provisions already supplied by the national Health Department, which include respirators. Another two planeloads are expected over the next couple of days with more materials.
Updated 3pm, 1/4: Sanidad has confirmed last night’s figures of 1,380, and the fatatities which now number 62. Of the 1,380 accumulated cases, 532 have required hospital treatment, 110 in ICU. There are now 72 recoveries, leaving 1,246 active cases in the Canaries. By island, Tenerife has registered 826 cases, Gran Canaria 384, Fuerteventura 32, Lanzarote 59, La Palma 68, El Hierro 3, and La Gomera 8. Deaths per island are Tenerife 42, Gran Canaria, 15, Lanzarote 3, and La Palma 2.
Updated 2pm, 1/4: More local council arrangements … again this is from Adeje but all councils will have something in place. People REALLY need to speak to their councils about the provision of social help and what might be available for their support. This could be going on for a little while so please if you need help, contact your council: if you can’t speak (or get someone to speak for you) to them direct, check out their social media – all have Facebook and most have twitter accounts.
Adeje department of community welfare, overseen by councillor Mercedes Vargas Delgado, have reinforced the service they offer to those who have the most basic needs and have put specific telephone numbers at their disposal, with personnel available from Monday to Friday, 8am – 2pm, 922756238 and 922050151.
There is another number, 600144855, which has been set aside for care for elderly residents in isolation and other individuals who are considered very vulnerable or in vulnerable situations.
If you have basic needs, call one of the numbers above during the hours stated to find out how you can get food and medication you may need, in particular if you are someone who is dependent, but living alone with no independent economic means nor the possibility of going out to shop for yourself.
The service will cover emergency home delivery to those who have no means nor anyone to collect food parcels, and the department is also offering emergency shelter to people in Adeje currently living on the street. The councillor said:
With these services we are working to give the best care we can to the most vulnerable in our borough, so we are urging people to get in touch with the council using the telephone numbers put in place for this purpose.
Updated 1pm, 1/4: The Spanish Government has guaranteed the supply of basic utilities during the State of Emergency. Electricity, water, and gas may not be disconnected during this period, with social vouchers available to large families and the disadvantaged now being allowed also for those subject to temporary redundancies, the self-employed whose services are not deemed essential, and anyone who has lost three-quarters of their demonstrable regular income. The self-employed and small businesses may also have a payment holiday on agreement with the service provider. Full information from the Government by phone to 913 146 67, or email to email@example.com, or online HERE.
Updated 1 April: HERE is the legislation that was published last night on rent relief that is available for those in economic difficulty under the State of Emergency. Thanks to Clio O’Flynn of Adeje Ayuntamiento for the following brief translation of what are likely to be key points for most readers:
Help for renters
The Spanish government this week introduced a series of measures aimed at helping those renting, who are and will have difficutly paying their landlord. The package of social and economic measures is aimed at those who are affected most by the impact of the Covid-19 state of emergency in Spain.
Here is a quick look at some of the main concepts:
1. There will be no evictions for the next six months (dated from the first day of the state of emergency)
2. There is an automatic 6-month extension of rental contracts for those contracts that were due to run out/be renewed in the coming 3 months
3. There will be an automatic moratorium on paying rent for those whose landlord owns more than 10 rental properties. The unpaid amount is to be paid back over a period of not more than 3 years with no penalties or interest allowed.
4. If the landlord is not a major property owner the tenant, if he or she is in a vulnerable situation, may request a suspension or postponement of paying the rent. If they two parties cannot reach agreement the tenant has access to a programme of financial help, with 0% interest and no commissions, through the state.
5. For people with long-term problems in paying rent there will be a series of direct aids regarding their home, with a maximum amount of €900 available per month .
The measures have been approved by the cabinet (council of ministers) and also incñudes a programme specifically for victims of domestic violence, those who are homeless and other particularly vulnerable individuals with immediate solutions available.
Updated 11pm, 31/3: We must bear in mind that President Torres thinks we’re not quite at the peak yet, and that it could be within a week or so. And indeed the downward trend hasn’t continued over the last 24 hours, with 118 more cases in the last 24 hours bringing the total of cases registered in the Canaries to 1,380. Sadly, there have been another seven deaths in the last 24 hours too, bringing the total to 62. As usual, the detail on these figures will follow tomorrow.
Updated 4pm, 31/3: Sanidad confirms last night’s figures of 58 new cases in the Canaries over the previous 24 hours, bringing the number of cases in this outbreak to 1,262. Of that number, 483 have been admitted to hospital, 94 to ICUs. Those recovered number 57 and those who’ve perished 55, leaving 1,150 active cases throughout the islands. Tenerife remains the most affected island with 741 cases in total, followed by Gran Canaria with 365, La Palma with 62, Lanzarote 51, Fuerteventura 32, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3. It seems of interest to many so I can confirm that deaths per island are as follows: Tenerife 37, Gran Canaria 13, Lanzarote 3, and La Palma 2.
Updated 3pm, 31/3: From today, all essential workers out and about must carry a certificate to justify their journey. The certificate is in the annex to THIS piece of legislation.
Updated 2.30pm, 31/3: Sadly, a second resident from the Tegueste old people’s home has died, Sanidad has confirmed. Today’s figures for the Canaries later.
Updated 2pm, 31/3: Another horse’s mouth … it’ll involve google translate if you don’t have Spanish but seriously you will not do better than this. FAQs from the Spanish Government itself on what you can and can’t do under the State of Emergency HERE.
Updated 31 March: There has been enormous concern by those in private rental accommodation who have been affected by covid19. Some have lost their income entirely after being laid off, others have seen their income reduced, all are concerned about how to carry on paying their rent while trying to work – if even allowed to work – during the State of Emergency.
Now the Government has announced the help it has spent the last couple of weeks developing into a workable plan. Interest- and commission-free microloans, repayable over up to six years, will be available to anyone who needs them to pay their rent. The plan includes direct aid, and a formalization of the already announced suspension of evictions which will be in place for up to six months following the end of the State of Emergency, whenever that might be.
The microloans will be guaranteed by the State, a measure that is estimated to cost the country around €100m, as part of a package of measures amounting in total to around €700m. The loans will be available to anyone who has been laid off under an ERTE, those with reduced working hours, and the self-employed whose income is under three times the national minimum wage.
As further reassurance to tenants, those who can show that they are unable to repay the microloans will be entitled to direct state aid to pay them off up to a maximum of €900 per month to cover the entirety of the loan. Further information will be available when the measures are published later today.
Updated 11pm, 30/3: And again the increase is down. Sanidad has said tonight that we have had 58 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the number of cases in this outbreak to 1,262 in the Canaries. Sadly the death rate has jumped a bit. It’s up 15 to 55, but Sanidad says it doesn’t represent a leap as such but includes fatalities previously uncertified.
Updated 5.30pm, 30/3: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, standing in at the covid press conference this afternoon, has announced that many thousands of British nationals currently stuck abroad will be flown home under a new arrangement between the British government and a range of airlines including BA, Virgin, EasyJet, Jet2, and Titan. More detail in due course.
Updated 5pm, 30/3: Apparently it is still causing “confusion” even though it is straightforward and has been repeated any number of times. So, here again are the things we are allowed out for under the State of Emergency which has been imposed because there is an invisible enemy potentially everywhere that goes for our lungs.
Article 7 of the State of Emergency legislation says that we must stay at home except for these reasons:
- to buy food, medicines or other basic necessities (like loo rolls, not like nail varnish)
- to go to the doctor or medical establishments
- to go to work (assuming the job comes under the list of essential services)
- to go home after being out for a permitted reason
- to go to banks and insurance offices
- for any other similar activity – and this must be done individually unless helping someone disabled or similar
- to take out a dog for a wee or to do its business but no more
- to feed colonies of stray animals
We can go on foot or by car but we must be alone, unless helping someone disabled, elderly, or with a young child … and if that is by car, the second person must sit in the rear behind the passenger seat to maximise distance (because this rule applies across the board and so covers lifts from strangers and taxi drivers too).
Updated 4pm, 30/3: As we were told last night, the Canaries have recorded 1,204 cases with 40 fatalities. Today, Sanidad has confirmed that 444 of that number have needed to be admitted to hospital, 84 of them requiring Intensive Care Unit treatment. Numbers recovered have risen from 25 to 32, and so the active current cases in the Canaries number 1,132. By island, Tenerife remains the most affected by far, with 721 cases in total; Gran Canaria has had 341, La Palma 52, Lanzarote 48, Fuerteventura 31, La Gomera 8, and El Hierro 3.
Updated 2pm, 30/3: We’ve seen the face of Dr Fernando Simón many times. The director of the Centro de Coordinación de Alertas y Emergencias Sanitarias has given many press conferences during this outbreak, confirming figures, explaining the need to flatten the curve of infection. His has been a calm, measured, friendly, and expert voice in the midst of the confused clamour of fear. Now, Dr Simón himself has tested positive for covid19. I am certain that everyone will wish him well, and hope for him to recover fully.
Updated 1pm, 30/3: Sanidad has placed a third Tenerife old people’s home under emergency protocol after a case was confirmed yesterday in the Santa Rita residence in Puerto de la Cruz. Sanidad had already evaluated the home since it is a large one with over 650 residents and nearly 400 staff. The resident sharing the room with the positive case has been placed in isolation and the rest of the centre is being monitored, including identifying contacts of the patient and isolating those considered at respiratory risk.
Updated 10am, 30/3: The single fatality yesterday has now been confirmed to have occurred in another home for the elderly, this time in Tegueste, near Tejina in La Laguna municipio. Several other residents have now also tested positive. The residence has been cordoned off and full protocols activated.
Updated 30 March: The Spanish Government has tightened its lockdown by means of a law regulating recoverable paid leave for employees whose services are not deemed essential provision and who are therefore required to remain at home to reduce public movement during the covid19 outbreak. The measures are based on the recommendations of scientific advisers to the Government for ways to flatten as far as possible the curve of infections and avoid saturating the health system.
The restrictions on non-essential workers will be in place from Monday 30 March up to and including 9 April even though the State of Emergency itself is currently in place until the end of the 11th. These workers will receive their pay (basic plus supplements) while off work but will have to repay the time unworked: this will be repayable over a period that does not impinge on legal rights to time off – in other words they won’t be required to work round the clock and will still be entitled to their normal rest hours and days while working the time off.
There are a few exceptions to the general rule that only essential services personnel can work, such as those people in non-essential services who can work from home. These, however, are those essential services the Government has listed :
- food supplies and production, including essential goods and services, animal feed, hygiene products, production or distribution of sanitary products
- catering and restaurant home delivery services
- production and distribution of medical and sanitary services, technology, material of any sort
- production of anything needed for these essential services
- Transport services for people and goods, and those who provide maintainance for the services
- prison and civil protection workers, lifeboats, bomberos, fire prevention, mine safety, traffic and road safety, Securicor-type security transport, alarm responders, security patrols and guards, as well as those who provide the services to facilitate the security provision.
- Military material and equipment, and maintenance thereof.
- Health centres, services and establishments, as well as personnel caring for the elderly, minors, dependents or the disabled. Also Research & Development researchers and staff and those who supply and service their research, and funeral and related services.
- Veterinary centres and services
- Press and media commnications, news agencies, and printers and distributors
- Financial services that are unavoidable, including banking, insurance and investment, stocks, etc.
- Telecommunications and audiovisual companies and services along with supporting networks and facilities
- Services for protection and care of domestic violence victims
- Lawyers and legal professionals, translators, interpreters and psychologists
- Gestors, asesors, and related services, management agencies, Health & Safety services
- Notaries and registries
- Cleaners, maintenance, repair and surveillance services, rubbish collection, sewage transport and disposal
- Refugee centres and provision of humanitarian care
- Water services including storage, treatment, supply, purification and drainage
- Meteorologists and related processes
- Postal services
- Medical supplies
- Distribution and delivery of products bought online or ordered otherwise
- Any other workers who might be considered essential
Updated 11pm, 29/3: Such is the interest in this that HERE is the decree published tonight concerning essential works. I haven’t had a chance yet to look at it but thought it would be welcomed even without comment. I’ll come back to it later.
Updated 9pm, 29/3: Last night, we saw a glimmer of hope with Sanidad announcing the previous 24 hours’ figures growing by under 10% compared with an average of 20% in the previous fortnight. Tonight we have one new fatality and 79 new cases in the past 24 hours. This is still tragic, and President Torres has said only this afternoon that we are still at least a week away from the peak, but this feels hopeful that the measures in the Canaries at least are indeed slowing down the exponential growth of covid19, and helping to flatten the curve.
This might mean, overall, that the social distancing and lockdown measures might need to remain in place for a while longer because flattening the curve of infections to stop a peak overwhelming the health system means the outbreak will be drawn out over a longer period at a lower level, but this is the first night I feel anything remotely resembling hope. The Canaries tonight have recorded 1,204 cases with 40 fatalities. As usual, detail on the figures will follow tomorrow.
Updated 3pm, 29/3: I received the following email this morning from a reader, and I’m so glad they wrote because it shows the system is working. I reproduce it with their permission and hope it reassures where reassurance might be feeling needful.
Just to let you know… we had cause to contact the national helpline last night because my husband was bitten by his cat and after two days of home treatment it was obvious that he needed support for infection. This needed treatment.
Following the advice on your website,
I called the multilingual helpline* who connected me directly with the duty A&E doctor in Adeje who advised that we should come to the emergency facility, where our arrival was expected.
We arrived, wearing gloves and face masks as advised and my husband was admitted to the building, diagnosed and treated within 5 minutes. Then on to the 24 hour pharmacy in The Del Duque shopping center for the antibiotics and antiinflamatorios prescribed and then home.
What fantastic service! Thank you to the excellent Spanish medical service.
The oddest thing was driving at night. The lockdown is astonishing. In the whole trip I saw four vehicles and only one pedestrian. The lights blaze on, but there is no one in the hotels or on the streets. Stay home and stay safe.
Thank you, Janet, for your website, the information you give and helping us all in this time of crisis. And bless the medical staff.
*That multi-lingual helpline number is 900 112 061, as in the piece in bold at the top of the page.
Updated 29 March: Tenerife President Pedro Martin has said that the field hospital in the Recinto Ferial has been completed in little more than two days and will contain 180 beds that will fill the completed space over today and tomorrow. The works have been carried out under the auspices of the Cruz Roja in coordination with the Tenerife Cabildo and the Canarian Health Service.
Councillor for Sustainable Development and Climate action, Javier Rodríguez Medida, who is coordinating the different departments’ liaison, says that presently “several tents have already been set up, some for patients, others for resuscitation, as well as storage, waste for removal and so on”. There are also ingress and egress tents for medical personnel to get kitted up before entering an area which will be hazardous when in use, and to disinfect themselves before leaving. Inside, beds will be arranged in “wards” each of which will comprise groups of smaller numbers of beds, like “cubicles”.
President Martín thanked “the dedication and professionalism of everyone involved in making the hospital. They have done an excellent job and the Cabildo is very grateful for their efforts which have created preventative measures against any urgent health situations that might arise in this crisis.”
Updated 11pm, 28/3: Another day and another hundred cases. The Canaries now has 1,125 recorded cases of covid19, and sadly, three more have succumbed to the virus meaning that 39 people have now died in the islands. In one glimmer of hope, that might be all too short lived but we have to take it where we can find it, Sanidad says that today’s figures reflect a 9.76% growth of cases on yesterday, and that growth is the lowest in the last thirteen days where the average has been around 20%. As usual, there will be more detail on the night’s figures tomorrow.
Updated 9pm, 28/3: Pedro Sánchez will ask the Government tomorrow to approve new restrictions on all non-essential workers who will have to join those who are required to remain at home during the State of Emergency. That currently lasts until the end of 11 April but the restrictive measures on workers are presently expected to remain in place up to and including 9 April, at least in the first instance. There will be more detail tomorrow about which workers are affected, assuming the measures are approved by the Government, as is expected.
Updated 5pm, 28/3: The Government response is evolving as cases increase, and as enquiries overloading the information systems also increase. And so there is now a new page HERE from the Public Health department of the Canarian Health Service. It is designed for initial testing to save people ringing the helpline. The public is asked to use the online test as a first resort if they think they might have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who might be infected. This will free up the helpline for those who are advised to call it – one of the possible responses of the online test. As ever, 112 is for emergencies only.
Updated 28 March: As we learned last evening, there are now 1,025 cases recorded in the Canaries, 210 of them confirmed to be medical personnel. Sadly, 36 have died and 25 recovered, leaving 964 active cases in the islands. Numbers requiring hospital treatment have now reached 377, 68 needing ICU beds. Tenerife remains the worst affected island, with 671 cases recorded in total: Gran Canaria has 253; La Palma, 43; Fuerteventura, 25; Lanzarote, 24; La Gomera, 6; and El Hierro, 3. Of the 36 who have died, 23 have been in Tenerife, 9 in Gran Canaria, 3 in Lanzarote, and 1 in La Palma.
Updated 11pm, 27/3: We have known it was to get worse, and tonight it has got quite a bit worse. There have been nine more deaths in the last 24 hours, taking our grim total so far to 36. The latest figures show 147 more cases, roughly double the worst increases to date. We now have 1,025 cases recorded in the Canaries.
Updated 10pm, 27/3: Sanidad has put the Fasnia Centro Sociosanitario under an isolation protocol after 26 users of the centre plus ten workers there have tested positive. Sanidad said that the centre will now be isolated, cleaned and disinfected. All 55 users of the centre and its 48 staff were tested after one resident tested positive, the man whose death was announced last night.
The centre comes under the jurisdiction of the Cabildo, and it is coordinating with Sanidad a health support plan for those affected by the isolation order because they are highly vulnerable to the effects of this virus. The patients are being transferred to the San Juan De Dios Hospital where measures are already in place for their clinical monitoring.
The protocol will now be applied to the other users and workers. Workers who have tested positive will go into isolation with active surveillance by health personnel. The rest of the users and workers at the centre who have tested negative will be subjected to preventive isolation and active surveillance. In addition, the contagious zone has been cordoned off and is being intensely disinfected, as established in the protocol.
The SCS has been evaluating alternatives with the Cabildo of Tenerife in order to have facilities where users can be transferred should this type of situation recur.
Updated 2.30pm, 27/3: The death toll has increased by one today, an elderly man in the Fasnia Old People’s Home. So this afternoon we have 878 recorded cases in the Canaries, 609 of them in Tenerife. In all there have been 20 recoveries and, now, sadly 28 fatalities.
Updated 2pm, 27/3: Following the confirmation earlier of 878 recorded cases in the Canaries with 94 new cases in the last 24 hours, Sanidad has confirmed that 609 of those 878 are in Tenerife, 69% of the total. In Tenerife, 133 of those 609 are in hospital, 37 in ICU. These are distributed between Candelaria Hospital with 70 (24 in ICU), and HUC with 63 (13 in ICU).
Updated 27 March: There have been 94 new cases in the last 24 hours bringing the total in the Canaries to 878. Sadly, three more have become victims of the virus bringing the number of deaths up to 27, one of whom is a British man in Lanzarote. He was in his 80s and had underlying health conditions.
There has been great interest in the condition of the baby born by Caesarian in Gran Canaria recently whose mother was infected. She remains in serious condition but the baby is said to be doing well. He is receiving intensive care because of his weight but is in good health and not carrying the virus.
Meanwhile, Sanidad is settling into a new routine with the replacement of Canarian Health Secretary Teresa Cruz by Julio Pérez who had been Minister of Public Administration, Justice and Security. Cruz had been criticized in several quarters for her handling of the crisis in the Canaries, and Pérez’ appointment has been met with wide approval.
Updated 4pm, 26/3: To give an idea of how a council is dealing with policing and managing the crisis in practical terms, we can look at Adeje again. The council has seen over 100 operations undertaken by the Policia Local working in conjunction with the UME (Emergency Militia) and other national security forces in duties involving identification, vigilance and protection of the public.
Security councillor Mercedes Vargas Delgado said that the council is in “continuous communication with all of the relevant bodies and national security forces and are doing all we can within our remit and competency, all we can to guarantee the protection and security of our citizens. At times like this it is vital that we follow the rules that have been put in place and that we stay at home”.
Police have registered 76 incidents where individuals have acted in contravention of the State of Emergency by gathering together, meeting in groups or holding events that are not permitted, or which have caused obstruction on public roads or impeded the actions and work of the security forces or emergency services.
Ten vehicles have been stopped and found to be travelling without the proper authorisation and up to 90 individuals have been found to disobey the rules laid down during the national state of emergency. In this regard the councillor noted that “the Policia Local are placing and staffing controls in strategic points in the borough to ensure that those who are travelling in their vehicles are authorised to do so or have a proper reason for the trip they are taking”.
Meanwhile, in parallel with the work to prevent actions in contravention of the current measures in place, the forces are also part of the cleaning and disinfection campaign, with the UME disinfecting the Adeje Health Centre this morning. The Adeje volunteer fire-fighters have been cleaning and disinfecting the Senior Citizens residence while teams from the Ascan Torrabonaf company alongside members of EMSA, the municipal services company, have been cleaning those areas generally registering a high turnover of members of the public, streets outside supermarkets, chemists, health centres, banks, etc.
Updated 3pm, 26/3: Sanidad’s lunchtime roundup confirms last night’s figures of 784 cases recorded in the islands, with 279 having needed to go into hospital, 45 of whom have needed Intensive Care beds. There have been 18 recoveries and 24 fatalities: all the victims had previous conditions or were elderly. Specifically, of the victims, 12 have been in their 80s (five women, seven men), seven have been in their 70s (one woman and six men), two in their 60s (both women), one man in his 50s, and two in their 30s (both women).
Updated 26 March: Late last evening the Spanish Government approved Prime Minister Sánchez’ request to extend the State of Emergency. The measures remain the same and are now in place until the end of 11 April. The Government says it recognizes that this is a drastic measure which requires a great sacrifice by all of us, but which is necessary in the fight against covid19.
One measure that has caused great excitement and discussion on social media is the situation of giving lifts. The apparent “confusion” over straightforward rules was exacerbated yesterday when police attempted to clarify them. Their clarification was taken as “a change” when it was no such thing. The situation on lifts is that one person can give another person a lift in the car under the circumstances that were outlined a fortnight ago when the State of Emergency was imposed, and which have not changed since. These are that you can go to help someone, or give them a lift, if they are a child, elderly, infirm or unwell, or where circumstances are compelling and you have to take them.
Police themselves are explicit: the two in a car rule is only when it is imperative, and not just to go shopping. The second person, the passenger, must sit in the back of the car behind the passenger seat. That maximises the physical distance in case it’s not a couple, but an acquaintance giving a lift, or a taxi driver.
This is a direct quote from N332 – traffic police: “There MUST be a reasonable reason to take a second person in your vehicle, and this must be included in article 7. For example; Two family members have an appointment in the hospital, work in the same place or area, or they need to attend to any place both together, and the presence of both it is strictly necessary.
Explicitly they say it is not “to take our wife or husband to do the shopping and wait in the parking, please common sense. The Alarm State has been declared therefore we must remain at home and only get out when it is really necessary.”
Updated 9pm, 25/3: Three more people have died in the Canaries in the last 24 hours, Sanidad has confirmed. There are now 24 fatalities in the islands. The sad news will be included in the full statistics tomorrow. Although this represents a lower number of deaths than the past two days, each of which has recorded five victims, the number of cases has risen even more than yesterday. Where we had 100 new cases yesterday, today there have been 127 bringing our current total of recorded cases to 784.
Updated 2pm, 25/3: Cases in the canaries rose by exactly 100 yesterday, Sanidad has confirmed, with 657 cases here now having been registered. Of these, 235 have needed to be taken to hospital, 43 of them requiring Intensive Care beds. There are 15 now recovered, but as I posted last night, after our two worst days here, five more have died, bringing the sad total to 21. All the victims, 10 women and 11 men, have been elderly or with underlying conditions. By islands, Tenerife’s registered cases have risen 71 in the last 24 hours from 338 to 409. Gran Canaria has had 171, La Palma 33, Fuerteventura 20, Lanzarote 17, La Gomera 4, and El Hierro 3.
Meanwhile, Sanidad is now setting up a field hospital in the Recinto Ferial in Santa Cruz. The installation will be set up by Cruz Roja and will be made available to the regional administration by the Tenerife Cabildo. It will be able to accommodate up to 220 beds for those infected by covid19 and who need monitoring but who do not need significant nursing care. The medical facility wil be upstairs in the Recinto while the ground floor is being converted into a logistics centre from which resources will be distributed to the municipalities that request them.
Updated 12 noon, 25/3: I’ve had lots of queries about car inspections during the this period. ITVs have been suspended during the State of Emergency, as are any sanctions for driving a car without one … provided it expired during the State of Emergency or you had an ITV appointment during the State of Emergency. If your car’s ITV expired before the State of Emergency and you did not already have an ITV appointment, you can still be fined for driving an unfit vehicle.
Updated 25 March: These are the accommodation available in Tenerife for those unable to leave before hotels close tomorrow.
Arona. Aparthotel Marisol.
Costa Adeje. Aparthotel Lagos de Fañabe.
Costa Adeje. Aparthotel Los Olivos.
Costa Adeje. Aparthotel Santa María.
Santa Cruz. Apartamentos Brujas.
The Government order is HERE.
Updated 11pm, 24/3: Tonight’s toll is as sad as last night’s, with five more victims in the last 24 hours. These last two days are the worst so far since the outbreak began. Again, the sad statistics will be included in tomorrow’s figures.
Updated 6pm, 24/3: The first prison sentence in Spain for disobeying the State of Emergency has been imposed, the ministro del Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, has confirmed. It is a four-month sentence for “desobediencia” and it was handed down by the Courts in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. When they say STAY HOME they mean it.
Updated 5pm, 24/3: Sometimes it’s hard to know if news is good or bad. I hope this will turn out to be good. There are two pregnant women in the Canaries with covid19, and one of them has just given birth in the Hospital Materno Infantil de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Sanidad says only that the delivery was carried out by Caesarean section.
Updated 3pm, 24/3: We saw yesterday how Adeje Ayuntamiento was helping the elderly, and as I said then, councils throughout Tenerife are the focal points for local assistance where people are struggling or affected by this outbreak. Today another example comes from Arona’s Social Services Dept which is helping the homeless.
The council says that an area of the pabellón Jesús Domínguez Grillo in Los Cristianos has been fitted out to accommodate some 20 homeless people as just one measure the council is taking to try to protect their health. The arrangements comply with the 2m distance we’re required to keep from each other, as well as ensuring the occupants get the necessary health and food supplies they need. The council has also increased its Mobile Social Emergency Unit food deliveries from once to twice daily throughout the municipality.
Please do contact your local Ayuntamiento for any assistance you might need as a resident of your borough, registered on the local padrón.
Updated 24/3: Sanidad has announced today’s figures which show a jump to 557 cases, up 76 from the previous day, which itself had a jump of 67. Of these, 207 have been hospitalized and 36 required ICU beds. Eight have recovered, but sadly 16 have now died – all of them have been elderly and/or with underlying health conditions. Tenerife remains the worst affected island by some distance, and its cases have now gone from 293 yesterday to 338. Other islands have been less affected, and today Gran Canaria has 158 cases; La Palma, 24; Fuerteventura, 18; Lanzarote, 13; La Gomera, 3; and El Hierro, 3.
Updated 11pm, 23/3: The nightly toll is a sad one today. Five have died in the last 24 hours in the worst day since the outbreak began. The sad statistic will be included tomorrow’s figures which appear to contain quite a jump in cases over today.
Updated 4pm, 23/3: Many councils are the focal points for local assistance where people are struggling or affected by this outbreak, and a look at what Adeje is doing for the elderly will be instructive because it will show the type of thing other councils are doing too, and not just for the elderly, in terms of adapting and reinforcing services at this time. Please do contact your local Ayuntamiento for any assistance you might need as a resident of your borough, registered on the local padrón.
The Councillor for community wellbeing and senior citizens, José Antonio López Delgado, says that the care service for the borough’s senior citizens has continued throughout the current situation and adapted to meet the new needs of the more vulnerable members of our society given the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are currently 77 people receiving home care attention, with a team of 10 professionals “offering individual assistance as well as a telephone service staffed by members of the social services team”, detailed the councillor. He added that the council are planning to add new members to the team if there is an increase in demand for their services.
López Delgado said the team who are attending to people in their homes has, of course, all the protection materials needed to carry out their work given that the amount of help being requested from elderly people at home had increased.
He said that the seniors’ Santa Ana Day Club was closed but they were staying in touch with the 443 people who used the centre on a regular basis. “We are phoning them, letting them know about activities they can do at home. We have social networks too that they are all able to use”. The service is also being offered to the 21 people who use the Senior Residence day centre
The Senior Residence centre currently has 18 people in residence, and they are, of course, being cared for by professionals and in regular contact with family members by phone or video calls, given that visits are currently not allowed.
To guarantee the proper care and attention of those in residence, the care workers are working a series of shifts, using all of the strictest sanitation protocols, and the centre has its own laundry, kitchen and the council have also increased the daily cleaning and disinfection service of the surrounds as well.
The 108 clients of the ‘Calidad de Vida’ (quality of life) programme are also receiving a service through videoconferences, social networks, telephone contact, etc. There is a shopping service on offer to them as well as assistance in cognitive strengthening lessons, etc, and advice for families to carry out activities together.
Updated 1pm, 23/3: Sanidad has confirmed today that the Canaries have recorded 481 cases of covid19, up 67 from yesterday. Of these 172 have been hospitalized and 32 required ICU beds. Seven have recovered and, sadly, now 11 have died, 10 of whom have been over the age of 60 and all 11 had underlying conditions.
Tenerife remains the worst affected island by some distance, with 293 cases in total compared to Gran Canaria, 135; La Palma, 21; Fuerteventura, 18; Lanzarote, 9; La Gomera, 3; and y El Hierro, 2.
Please ignore rumours doing the rounds that all tourists, and sometimes allegedly all non-residents, have to leave the island because tourism is shutting down on Thursday. This is completely false. The airport remains open because people can leave if they wish, and indeed Spanish nationals and legal residents and a limited list of others may fly into Spain, but no-one is required to leave.
Updated 23 March: The Canarian tourism authorities say that following the departures over this last weekend, they expect today to end with fewer than 10,000 holidaymakers left here, just over 12% of those who were here on Thursday when President Torres explained that figures showed between 80,000 and 90,000 in the islands. He expected 60,000 to depart between Friday and last night. It seems the islands are doing an even better job of helping them home.
Updated 9.15pm, 22/3: The Spanish Government has closed the airports as well as the country’s borders from midnight tonight to all but Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain. Residents of other EU and Schengen countries will only be allowed into Spain to return to their places of residence.
There are a few other exceptions, such as long-stay visa holders (3rd country nationals), cross-border workers (Gibraltar); health professionals or care for the elderly; diplomatic and transport personnel; and anyone travelling for imperative family reasons or for duly justified reasons of force majeure.
Spain’s Interior Ministry says that the measure is to protect the health and safety of citizens and to contain the virus, and is in accordance with the decision adopted by the members of the European Council on 17 March, where a temporary restriction on non-essential travel from third countries to the European Union and Schengen associated countries was agreed.
The order, signed by Spanish Home Secretary Fernando Grande-Marlaska will initially be valid for 30 days, but may be extended. The measure, to be explicit, affects those entering Spain. Anyone wishing to leave may do so.
Updated 9pm, 22/3: Sadly there are two more deaths tonight in the Canaries, both in Tenerife, and both elderly and with underlying conditions. More detail in tomorrow afternoon’s figures.
Updated 4pm, 22/3: There is confusion, seemingly, over absolutely clear rules as to what one is allowed to do, under the State of Emergency with animals. Here are the rules, the English thanks to Miranda Parsons of Tenerife South Translations.
Updated 3pm, 22/3: Today’s figures from Sanidad are 414 cases recorded in total, 150 of which have been hospitalized with 32 of them in Intensive Care Units. Seven have recovered and, sadly, nine have died. There are therefore 398 active cases in the Canaries, 50 more than yesterday.
Of those who have died, seven are women, two are men. Five were in their 80s – three women and two men. In addition one other woman was in her 70s, and two in their 60s. Only one was in their 30s. Every single one of them had underlying health issues.
In terms specifically of Tenerife, the island has registered 262 cases, more than all the other islands combined, and 62% of the total in the Canaries.
Updated 1.30pm, 22/3: El Hospital San Juan de Dios in the Metropolitan Area has asked for the loan of 3D printers from any businesses or individuals who can provide them. They will be used to make supports for protective visors to help health personnel. If you can help, please fill in THIS form.
Updated 22 March: It will surprise hardly anyone that Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez has told all the Presidents of Spain’s regions in a video conference this morning that he intends to ask Parliament to approve an extension to the State of Emergency, currently in place only for 15 days because that is the maximum that could be imposed summarily when it was introduced as, obviously, an emergency measure. It appears that the first extension will be for another 15 days, but it would be unwise in the extreme to think that this is the only extension that there is likely to be. We are likely to be informed early in the coming week that it has been approved by Parliament.
Updated 11.30pm, 21/3: Sadly, another two victims of covid19 have been announced tonight, one in Tenerife and another in Gran Canaria. Their deaths mean that nine people have now died in the Canaries.
The news comes as Spain’s PM Pedro Sánchez, who talks to the people regularly through mini-broadcasts, says tonight that the worst is yet to come, that there are very hard days ahead that will push us to the limit. He calls on everyone to remain in their homes while the state protects them. And he says that we will get through this.
Just click on the image and it will open up to play the video.
Lo peor está por llegar. Recibiremos el impacto de la ola más dura, que nos pondrá al límite. Para vencerla, los españoles y españolas deben permanecer unidos, en sus casas, mientras su país les protege, les cuida y la combate con tesón. Lo lograremos, #EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos. pic.twitter.com/3KQHnx8S35— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) March 21, 2020
Updated 9pm, 21/3: The police in southern Spain have released THIS very helpful list of questions and answers about the State of Emergency. It is in English, and covers many of the things I’ve been asked so many times now I can’t keep count. I hope it helps … both readers and my own sanity! There’s a text file HERE for those who aren’t on Facebook: please understand that it was written for a specific area but applies nationally, including the Canaries, because the whole country is under the State of Emergency.
Updated 2pm, 21/3: Sanidad has confirmed that 348 cases have now been registered in the Canaries, seven have recovered. The death toll has sadly increased by three over the last 24 hours so now, sadly, seven have died, four in Tenerife and three in Gran Canaria: most have been elderly and all have had underlying health conditions. There are now 334 active cases in the islands, up 57 from yesterday. By islands the recorded cases are Tenerife 219, Gran Canaria 97, La Gomera 3, La Palma 11, Lanzarote 4, Fuerteventura 13, and El Hierro 1.
Updated 21 March: Two more deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours in the Canaries, sadly. Both victims, a man and a woman, were in Gran Canaria, and both were elderly with prior conditions, Sanidad confirms.
Updated 8pm, 20/3: Sad and worrying news tonight. It isn’t just the elderly or those with underlying conditions at risk, but our frontline services are too. Spain tonight is mourning the death today of Francisco Javier Collado, a 38-year-old Guardia Civil officer from La Mancha in Ciudad Real who was otherwise in good health.
Tragically, he is the second Guardia Civil victim. The first was Pedro Alamedo, a 37-year-old from Madrid who died on Wednesday, and who also had no underlying health conditions.
Our frontline services are taking the brunt of the risk for us. Let’s work with them, for their sake, and our own.
Rest in Peace … Descanse en paz.
Updated 6.30pm, 20/3: The Canarian Government has suspended all surgical operations in the hospitals in the archipelago apart from those of the utmost severity or urgency. In addition, the Government has announced that chronically ill patients will be relocated to free up beds. Private clinics have put their beds at the Government’s disposal, as previously reported.
Updated 6.15pm, 20/3: Sadly tonight El Hierro has its first case, Sanidad has confirmed. Timing means it will be included in tomorrow’s figures.
Updated 6pm, 20/3: I hope this will reassure. UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Spain’s Foreign Minister Arancha González have spoken and confirmed their shared commitment to support British tourists as they return from Spain. Both the Foreign Office and Department of Transport are working with UK airlines to ensure sufficient flights continue back to UK for British holidaymakers in Spain.
Updated 20 March: Today’s figures from Sanidad are sobering. The Canaries has registered a total of 287 cases: of these, six have recovered and four have tragically died: yesterday it was announced yesterday that nine had recovered but Sanidad has now said the information had been clarified. That leaves a total for active cases of 277, up 69 in the last 24 hours. By islands, the accumulated cases are Tenerife 192; Gran Canaria 70; La Gomera 3; La Palma 7; Lanzarote 3, and Fuerteventura 12.
Updated 11.30pm, 19/3: This needs no words from me.
Critical care nurse Dawn has pleaded for the public to "stop it" after being faced with empty supermarket shelves following a 48-hour shift. pic.twitter.com/1sQHM2U5Ba— BBC Yorkshire (@BBCLookNorth) March 19, 2020
Updated 11pm, 19/3: And now that decree closing the hotels has been approved, and published in the BOE. The law is HERE, and you will see it is dated today, but stipulates that tourist accommodation establishments must close either when they have no guests left or a week tomorrow at the latest, whichever comes first. Tonight, many working in the hospitality sector are facing the prospect of at least a temporary lay off for an indefinite period.
Also concerned might be those who live permanently in tourist complexes or camp sites but the legislation allows for tourist establishments for long-term guests to remain open under some conditions. Obviously they will want to check urgently with the management of their accommodation as to whether or how they might be affected. At the very least, such establishments, even if allowed to remain open for long-term guests, may not take in any new ones.
Updated 9pm, 19/3: Sanidad has confirmed tonight that a fourth person has died from covid19 in the Canaries. The victim is an 80-year-old woman who was suffering from a serious underlying condition. She died in Tenerife, our third fatality in this island.
Updated 8pm, 19/3: The following video is made by Kurzgesagt, a German animation studio and YouTube channel that creates animated videos explaining complex space and science topics. It is reputable and scientifically rigorous, and the content of this video has been individually confirmed to me by two independent virological specialists. To me, it is the most straightforward and understandable explanation of what covid19 is, and what it can create, and how society can best deal with it. I hope it will help explain what we are facing but I would stress that although they focus on what can go wrong, it must be understood that the worst happens in the very small percentage of cases that become extremely serious.
This cannot be downplayed, and it is indeed far worse than “a flu”: it is a SARS virus, not a flu virus, but we are still talking, overall, of small figures in terms of fatalities or long-term incapacity in those who recover. No-one is prepared to put numbers on this as yet because it is a new virus, but indications are that compared with the roughly 0.5% mortality of the flu viruses, covid19 seems to be running under different public health approaches at between 1.5% and 7.5% at present.
Updated 5pm, 19/3: Police say that “los días de pedagogía han terminado”. They advise the public that they have gone easy over the last five days with officers under instructions to treat the first few days of the Estado de Alarma as a period for educating people over what a State of Emergency means. From now on, the public is considered to understand that the country is on a war footing against an invisible enemy, and that they must stay at home except for a restricted list of justifiable reasons for going out. Police say that it’s natural for everyone to miss their liberty, but that their liberty was no longer available to them, and would remain so while the State of Emergency was in place. They’ve been giving an easy ride … that’s over now.
Updated 19/3: Sanidad says that the active cases in the Canaries have gone up from yesterday’s 170 to 208. Of these, 82 are in hospital, 23 in Intensive Care Units. We are still mercifully on the three deaths already reported, and nine have recovered.
The Canarian Health Service has put out a call for qualified health personnel. They are asking for doctors and nurses to say if they can be available to help in the case of the health system being short staffed due to illness or generally overwhelmed. If you can help, and have qualifications in any of the health sciences, whether in an EU country or not, please send your details by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, using the form that can be downloaded from the link HERE.
In other matters, I repeat today that hotels are not under any national order to close. The decree that supposedly closed them remains only a proposal, and the draft which caused such news furore yesterday remains unpublished so far. Hotels are closing left right and centre, but this is because of cancellations, and because guests are leaving earlier than planned. The formal requirement to close may come, indeed is likely to come, but it has not been imposed yet.
The Canaries is now under a regime of 17 flight connections with the mainland daily thanks to restrictions requested by regional President Torres and agreed by Spanish PM Sánchez. Airports throughout Spain remain open, and today the Government has confirmed that it has no plans to close any airports at the moment. Those very words indicate that this is still a measure under consideration.
Finally let me repeat that anyone in an abusive relationship will struggle at present because they’re under lockdown with their abuser. They will not just face a mortal threat from a virus but one much closer to home. There is a brilliant scheme to try to help: get to a farmacia and ask for a Facemask 19 (for Covid19!) – in Spanish it’s a Mascarilla-19 – and the chemist staff will know to call 112 on your behalf.
Updated 11pm, 18/3: Some will find the days and weeks to come very difficult to handle. Some especially because their partners will find the days and weeks to come very difficult to handle. Such partners might be on a short fuse, some might anyway have a temper. If you are with someone like this, go to the farmacia. It won’t matter if your partner is with you. Tell the chemist you want a mascarilla, a facemask … but you must specify that you want a “Mascarilla-19” (for covid 19). By asking for a Mascarilla19, the chemist will know to call 112 on your behalf. This is an initiative from the Canarian Equalities Institute and supported at all levels of Canarian Government.
Updated 6pm, 18/3: Many people will be concerned about their employment situation and what to do if they’re laid off or lose their job entirely as a result of covid19. Thankfully, Diana McGowan has written THIS detailed advice to explain how workers might be affected and what they can and should do.
Updated 5pm. 18/3: The Guardia Civil have confirmed that the rule on getting or giving a lift in a car is that we are required by the State of Emergency to go out, whether on foot or in the car, on our own. There are two exceptions: helping someone elderly or infirm, or taking a child; and where there is “causa justificada” (justifiable reason).
The problem we’ll all have with this regulation is what is meant by “justifable reason”. That can mean a range of things from “good reason” to “compelling emergency” and it is individual police officers who’ll be interpreting it when they stop people. And if they decide the reason is acceptable, then it will be fine, but the penalties of breaking the State of Emergency are considerable if it is not. And so “good cause”, in my opinion, had better be way better than “didn’t want to take a taxi” …
Updated 1pm, 18/3: There has been a jump of 32 cases in the last 24 hours in the Canaries. From 138 yesterday we now have 170 active cases in the islands, 73 of whom are in hospital, and 17 of those are in ICU beds. We have eight cases in total recovered and discharged, and sadly now three deaths, all women who had significant underlying issues.
Updated 11am, 18/3: Sadly, a 36-year-old woman died today in Tenerife from covid19. She is said to have had a significant underlying condition. She is the second death in Tenerife, the third in the Canaries.
Updated 18 March: The FCO has advised British visitors to Spain who want to go home to make plans to do so as soon as they can. The FCO says:
In light of the measures being imposed across Spain, as well as increasing cancellation of flights and hotel closures, we advise British travellers who are currently there and wish to return to the UK to make travel plans as soon as possible.
Updated 11.30pm, 17/3: Sanidad has asked for help tonight from any businesses who can provide materials and professionals to deal with the covid19 outbreak which is expected to get worse here, as confirmed earlier today by Sanidad minister Teresa Cruz. The email address is email@example.com … and it’s formed by the message they are hoping will become part of our daily life for the time being – unidad crisis, united in crisis. If you can unite to help, Sanidad will be very pleased to hear from you.
Updated 10pm, 17/3: Spain’s national Government has approved the regional Canarian Government’s request to limit entry into the Canaries. The measures restrict fights fly from the Peninsula to the Canary Islands, and air traffic between the islands in the archipelago. The special measures have been published already in the BOE HERE, and apply to any commercial or private flight from 00:00 hours on 19 March from any airport within Spanish national territory and to any airport located in the territory of the Canary Islands. Furthermore, from 00:00 hours on 18 March, i.e. midnight tonight, no executive aviation flights, air taxis or similar operations, can land in the Canaries regardless of their origin.
Under the measures, there will be two flights a day between Madrid and Gran Canaria; two a day between Barcelona and Gran Canaria; one a day between Bilbao and Gran Canaria; one a day between Seville and Gran Canaria. For TFN there will be two daily between it and Madrid, two for Barcelona, one for Bilbao, and one for Seville. TFS wil have one between it and Madrid. There will also be one between Madrid and Fuerteventura, and also one between Madrid and La Palma, one between Madrid and Lanzarote and one between Barcelona and Lanzarote.
Only those passengers will be allowed who justify an immediate need to fly while restrictions last, and there will be controls in the airports of the islands to take temperatures of passengers arriving from the rest of Spain.
With regard to maritime traffic, from midnight tonight passengers embarking on roll on-roll off ferries from the mainland will be banned from disembarking in Canarian ports. From midnight tomorrow night, all vessels and pleasure boats used for recreational or sporting purposes or for charter, regardless of their origin, are prohibited from entering all ports in the Canary Islands.
I imagine people will wonder why this is all concerning the mainland, and that is because Spain is a country of autonomous regions, no one of which can seal the country’s entire boundary, only their own. Spain might yet entirely close air space, and indeed this was mentioned as a possibility earlier today, but such powers are not within the remit of the Canarian Government, which can only control its own borders within its context as a region of Spain.
Updated 5pm, 17/3: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced a package of measures to help people affected economically by the State of Emergency. The measures comprise the largest financial aid package in the country’s history with up to €200 billion allocated, 20% of the country’s GDP.
The measures include a mortgage holiday for anyone who loses their job or has a pay cut, unemployment benefit now to include those who lose their jobs even when their contributions have not accumulated to a sufficient level, and guaranteed utilities services to the vulnerable and those affected financially by the measures.
No evictions will take place of tenants in financial difficulties while State of Emergency measures remain in place, and loans will be available for those in certain sectors like agriculture as well as for the investigation and development of a covid19 vaccine. Please note that I have no information on the situation of the self-employed: there is no point contacting me for it because if I haven’t posted it, I don’t have it. As soon as I have any information I will post it.
Sánchez said that fighting covid19 will require a common collaborative commitment. We are a first rate democracy with full separation of powers, and that means the state has a contract with the public where people’s safety is paramount. But the public therefore necessarily has a contract with the state, and it fulfills that by abiding by the law, respecting instructions issued by policing and medical authorities, and acting for the common good in a time of crisis.
Sánchez said he himself applauded the public who have been going out to their balconies every night to applaud security workers. He thanked shop and supermarket personnel, health professionals, teachers, and all communication channels for working to keep everyone informed. I have to say, to me, the praise Sánchez has got from WHO Director-General Dr Tedros is well deserved. Dr Tedros has said that Spain has its response right, and that Sánchez, whose own wife has tested positive for covid19, is showing clear leadership.
Updated 2pm, 17/3: The Canaries’ active cases have risen from 111 yesterday to 138 today; two people have died, and eight have recovered. In hospital are 50 patients, 13 of them in Intensive Care Units. We will now clearly be reporting on region-wide cases as numbers increase. Sanidad minister Teresa Cruz has confirmed the rate of infection in the Canaries at 6.6 cases per population of 100,000, with cases fully expected to continue to grow; the mininster said the Government was preparing to meet the growing demand for cases that are occurring, especially on the island of Tenerife.
Sanidad has reorganized some aspects of medical provisions in the Canaries. GPs services will be maintained but from tomorrow patients are urged to ring 012 or use the cita previa website for a telephone appointment and they will be able to go to a chemist with their medical card where any prescriptions will be fulfilled without a paper copy being presented. The helpline for covid19 information is 900 112 061, but anyone with symptoms or in an emergency should ring 112.
Scheduled and follow-up consultations for different health programmes will be replaced by telephone consultations wherever it is deemed possible, though priority will be given to children’s health programmes and especially those under 15 months of age and particularly in relation to vaccination programmes.
Many activities like training, or breastfeeding or stopping-smoking groups and the like are suspended, except for areas essentially related to the covid19 measures. Elsewhere, with blood samples and similar, priority will be given to urgent issues with others postponed. Out-patient consultations are maintained but some are postponed, again it’s a matter of prioritizing urgent cases. Operations, however, will be limited to urgent cases and those where delay could seriously affect the patient’s health.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Ministro del Interior (Home Secretary) Fernando Grande-Marlaska has said today that airports are already reduced to 50% traffic, and the Government has not ruled out closing Spanish airspace entirely. As I posted earlier, I’ll report whenever there is confirmation of the measures proposed yesterday by the Canarian President to limit flights to just 17 daily connections with the mainland.
Updated 17 March: As Tenerife comes to terms with the first death from covid19 in the island, the second in the Canaries, last evening, army units are now deployed in the capitals of Tenerife and Gran Canaria provinces, as there are throughout the whole of Spain. The army says they can be called on as necessary under the measures imposed by the State of Emergency, and their numbers could increase as things develop. The army has named the operation Operación Balmis, named in honour of the military doctor who pioneered the smallpox vaccine.
Further developments in the last several hours have seen air authorities announcing high levels of flight delay at TFS and the Canaries more generally, as security ramps up and flights are reduced. Tourist numbers will reduce as more depart, and very soon we are likely to have confirmation of the measures proposed yesterday by the Canarian President to limit incoming flights to just 17 daily connections with the mainland. As soon as there is confirmation that the measures are approved or in place I will of course publish the information. Meanwhile, cruise liners are already unable to dock at Canarian ports because of Spanish regulations imposed on all the country’s harbours.
Updated 11pm, 16/3: Sadly, tonight, Sanidad has confirmed Tenerife’s first death from covid19, one of the patients who was in a serious condition. It is the second mortal victim of the virus in the islands following the death of an 80-year-old woman in Gran Canaria last Friday. Both women had underlying health conditions.
Updated 8pm, 16/3: There’s an excellent series of images with straightforward answers to simple but very common questions on Adeje Town Hall’s Facebook page HERE.
Updated 6pm, 16/3: Ten more cases in the Canaries today. Yesterday was 101, today is 111. Nine of them are still in serious condition, eight in Tenerife and one in Gran Canaria. Tenerife’s number remains today at 70 active cases.
Updated 4.45pm, 16/3: Spain is closing its land borders at midnight tonight. Only Spanish citizens, foreign citizens legally residing and cross-border workers will be able to enter Spain. The announcement has been made in the last hour by Home Secretary Fernando Grande-Marlaska. The EU itself is currently proposing to close its own external border, and the measure has in any case been adopted independently by Germany, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland, and Lithuania.
Updated 4.30pm, 16/3: Sanidad has announced that from Wednesday measures will be introduced to avoid unnecessary trips for patients to health centres to get prescriptions. The aim is to make it easier for patients to be attended to by phone appointment. They will then be able just to go to a chemist with their Tarjeta Sanitaria and nothing else: the medication will be dispensed by the pharmacy without any Treatment Plan or prescription.
Updated 2pm, 16/3: Clearly they’ve had similar enquiries to me since they have to stress that the State of Emergency does indeed apply to tourists as well as everyone else … but here is that and much more information from HMA Hugh Elliott. The message below is specifically to tourists.
While I’m speaking of tourists, the Canarian Government is seeking to get to 0% tourism here in the near future. They are considering an “orderly closure of all tourist establishments”, with tourists here repatriated and then flights reduced to just 20 to the mainland daily. This is not in place yet, but is being proposed by Canarian President Torres to Spain’s PM Sánchez. Obviously he might not approve this: we will have to wait to find out.
For the moment, here is HMA Hugh Elliott speaking to tourists:
Updated 11am, 16/3: The national Government has said this morning that it is virtually certain that the State of Emergency will last more than the currently planned fortnight. Transport Minister José Luis Ábalos said that a fortnight won’t give Spain the space to win the battle against covid19. Ábalos said that there was no fixed timescale, and that the Government was weighing up various options, including closing Spain’s borders entirely. Clearly the Government is engaged in some expectation management, as well as dealing with the viral outbreak itself: this is not going to be a short-term issue.
Updated 16 March: I’m sure it could easily be lost in the thread of information, but to confirm, Public Health has again said this morning that walking dogs is permitted, provided that it is one owner with their own dog, not in a group of walkers, and that it is out and back, just for the essentials, not “for the dog to have a good run”. What will also interest many is that PH has also formally confirmed that it is permitted to go to feed colonies of cats.
Updated 6pm, 15/3: People have been asking – it’s perhaps the top question I’ve been asked – and so here is the answer. Police say that failure to comply with the measures employed under powers of the State of Emergency is considered a serious offence. “Serious offence” is a distinct legal category and can lead to fines upwards of €100. That sounds relatively insignificant but the top level, for egregious or repeated disobedience is a fine of up to €60,000, summary detention for 10 days, and imprisonment for up to 4 years. The list of state sanctions derives from various pieces of constitutional legislation including the citizen security law, public health and civil protection laws, and the basic law code itself. Police stress in addition that these sanctions apply to disobedience not just of law enforcement agencies but health personnel and private security as well.
Updated 5pm, 15/3: The tourism authorities have issued advice for holidaymakers here at present. They say that under the State of Emergency holidaymakers should stay safely in their accommodation and only go out if they need to do something that is permitted under the emergency legislation. This is limited to buying basic necessities such as food or medicine, going to health centres, providing assistance to the elderly, children, dependents, or the disabled or vulnerable, or to go to a bank.
They are also allowed out under exceptional circumstances beyond their control – as I’ve defined before, this is on the level of being able to leave if the property is on fire. Going out for any of the reasons must be done individually unless the person is helping someone elderly or a dependent or children. Travel in vehicles is permitted only under the same circumstances. Public transport is working but with restrictions and reduced services. Travellers are also advised to check their travel arrangements with their airline before going to the airport.
Updated 3pm, 15/3: Sanidad says that Tenerife now has 12 more active cases than yesterday bringing our total to 70. Gran Canaria has three more with 19. There are two more in La Palma where there are now five, Lanzarote remains on three, La Gomera on one, and Fuerteventura is up two so now has three cases. We therefore have 101 cases in the Canaries, nine of whom are now in serious condition, eight of them in Tenerife, and one in Gran Canaria.
Meanwhile, Canarian President Torres has been engaged in meetings almost continuously for the past 48 hours. He is still currently in a video conference with Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez and the Presidents of every other autonomous community in Spain to coordinate the application and enforcement of the State of Emergency. Please see today’s earlier updates (below) for what this means for the public in practice here in Tenerife.
Updated 2pm, 15/3: The Guardia Civil has called on the public to STOP GOING UP TEIDE! They say that the National Park is closed apart from vehicles passing through. There is no stopping anywhere! And non-essential journeys are banned anyway! A “nice drive out” isn’t essential. Stay safe and help keep others safe too! Social responsibility requires us to comply with the State of Emergency. And if we don’t, the Guardia say they will be waiting. Up Teide.
Updated 1pm, 15/3: As police cars are now patrolling the main tourist areas in south Tenerife, the Cabildo has this morning issued a statement relating to the State of Emergency that came into force last night everywhere in Spain, including the Canaries. The Cabildo summarizes some of the measures which most directly affect the general public:
While the State of Emergency is in force, citizens are only permitted to move around in public to carry out the following activities:
a) Acquisition of food, pharmaceutical products and basic necessities.
b) To attend health centres, services and facilities.
c) Journey to the workplace for professional or corporate services.
d) Return to usual place of residence.
e) Assistance and care of the elderly, children, dependents, people with disabilities or anyone who is especially vulnerable.
f) Journey to financial or insurance institutions
g) Due to a force majeure or urgent situation.
(h) Any other activity of a similar nature, which will have to be carried out individually unless accompanying a person with a disability, or for another justifiable reason.
Private vehicles will be allowed to circulate in public for the realisation of the activities listed above or to refuel in petrol and service stations.
Roads may be closed entirely or sections thereof.
Citizens are requested to carry out their duty of collaboration and not to impede any member of the authorities from exercising their functions.
All shops and businesses are temporarily closed to the public, with the exception of retailers selling food, drinks, basic necessities, pharmaceutical, medical, optical and orthopaedic products, hygienic products, newsagents, petrol stations, off-licences, technological and telecommunications equipment, pet food, online or telephone trading and correspondence, dry cleaners and laundries. Any other activity or establishment that the competent authority believes may pose a risk of contagion is now closed.
The amount of time spent in commercial establishments whose opening is permitted must be limited only to that strictly necessary for consumers to be able to purchase their food and basic necessities. The consumption of products within the establishments themselves is forbidden. In any case, crowds will be avoided and consumers and employees will be monitored to maintain the safe distance required of at least one metre in order to avoid possible contagion.
All museums, archives, libraries and monuments are now closed to the public, as are premises where public performances are held as well as sports and leisure activities indicated in the annex of this decree.
Hospitality and catering activities are also suspended, although home delivery services are exclusively permitted.
Likewise, celebrations, parades and local festivals are also cancelled.
Attendance at places of worship and civil and religious ceremonies, including funerals, are permitted on condition of the correct organisational measures to avoid crowds of people, depending on the size and characteristics of the places, in such a way as to guarantee attendees the possibility of respecting the distance between them of at least one metre.
Furthermore, the following measures applicable to internal transport are also adopted:
a) For public transport services for road, rail, air and sea passengers that are not subject to public contractor or public service obligations (PSOs), transport operators will reduce operations by at least one 50 %. By the decision of the Ministry for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda, this percentage may change and specific conditions may be established.
(b) Public transport services for state-owned road, rail, air and sea passengers subject to a public contract or public service obligation will reduce their operations by at least the following percentages: Regular road traveller transport services – 50%; Air transport services subject to PSO – 50; Maritime transport services subject to navigation contract – 50 %. This decision takes into account the need to ensure that citizens can reach their places of work and basic services if necessary.
(c) Public transport services for road, rail and maritime passengers of autonomous or local competition which are subject to a public contract or public service obligation, or that are publicly owned, shall maintain their current transport offer. The Ministry for Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda and the regional and local authorities with transport expertise may establish a percentage reduction of services if the health situation so requires, as well as other specific conditions concerning transport provisions. Adopting these measures will take into account the need to ensure that citizens can access their jobs and basic services if necessary.
(d) Without prejudice to everything set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c), specific criteria shall be established for transport between the Spanish mainland and non-mainland territories, as well as for inter-island transport.
The government is also taking measures to ensure adequate food supply, product importation, electricity supply, etc.
Failure or resistance to the orders of the competent authorities during the State of Emergency shall be punished in accordance with the Law
Updated 15 March: In response to the introduction last night of a State of Emergency throughout the whole of Spain, which naturally includes the Canaries, and in reaction to the restrictions that are now in place as a result, the UK’s Ambassador to Spain has sent this message to all British tourists and residents in the country.
In response to the introduction last night of a State of Emergency, and the restrictions that are now in place throughout the country, a message to all 🇬🇧tourists and residents in🇪🇸 Further information on https://t.co/YfUHYYEs6O #yomequedoencasa #imstayingathome #coronavirus pic.twitter.com/pcco3MDBhe— Hugh Elliott (@HughElliottUK) March 15, 2020
Updated 11pm, 14/3: Spain is now under a State of Emergency. HERE is the emergency legislation whose measures and powers entered into effect simultaneous to publication.
Please note that the version of the Law published in the BOE omits the reference that had appeared in the draft relating to our freedom to move until 8.30am on Monday. This means that all the decree’s measures are in force immediately, including bans on our free movement. Please also note that I’ve edited below to strike through the prohibition on walking pets because PM Sánchez says this comes within the definition of necessity, but that animals should be on leads, the walk as short as possible, not in groups, and only for the absolutely essential.
Updated 8pm, 14/3: I can’t quite credit it but various reports indicate pets are being abandoned from people’s fears that they can transmit covid19. They cannot. I do not give advice on the virus, as I hope is known, but this information is confirmed at the absolutely top levels. The World Health Organization itself says:
there has been one instance of a dog being infected in Hong Kong, to date, there is no evidence that a dog, cat or any pet can transmit COVID-19. COVID-19 is mainly spread through droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. To protect yourself, clean your hands frequently and thoroughly.
Things are bad globally. Don’t punish your pets. It is the idiots who are spreading this, not animals.
Updated 3pm, 14/3: So, to clarify so far. Under the emergency measures, people can go out for essential reasons. Police at every level are now controlled by Home Office in Madrid. Even the Canarian police. And they are instructed to enforce these measures. Essential reasons are defined as going to work, the bank, the supermarket or chemist. Given the queries I’ve had, I’m afraid this does not include
walking pets, going to the beach or hairdresser … (I’ve crossed through walking pets because PM Sánchez says this comes within the definition of necessary, but that animals should be on leads, the walk as short as possible, and only for the absolutely essential.)
This applies throughout the country. Since Spain includes the Canaries, this means Tenerife and the other islands here are subject to these measures.
Transport has not been shut down. The public can go on the bus provided it’s to work, the bank, the chemist etc … not the beach, or the hairdresser … . Cars are allowed out on the roads but only for the same. Non-essential movement is banned. The restrictions are a lockdown on public movement. They require bars, cafes, restaurants to close. See the appendix of the decree for the full list.
Transport hubs like airports are not closed but transport operators will reduce their operations by at least 50% with this possibly subject to increased shutdown as things change. Priorities will be for food and medical supplies. Official advice for passengers is to check with the airlines direct.
The decree is already in force but public movement restrictions are set for 8am on Monday 16th. To repeat, it applies in Tenerife, in the Canaries, in Spain as a whole. EVERYWHERE in the country.
Updated 2pm, 14/3: Just to confirm because it is evidently necessary, yes these measures apply to the Canaries. Since the Canaries are part of Spain, and Spanish PM Sánchez has just announced a national State of Emergency, it is difficult for me to see how anyone could be unsure but there we are. We are part of the nation of Spain. The national State of Emergency applies throughout the country. It therefore applies also to the Canaries. The Canarian President will also announce further regional measures later, to add to those he announced yesterday, and in addition to the national ones announced today by the PM. I hope this is now clear.
Updated 1pm, 14/3: Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has announced that the State of Emergency measures will mean that all police forces will be under the command of the head of the Ministerio del Interior (equivalent to the UK’s Home Office) and will limit personal freedom of movement for the next fortnight. Across the country, the public will only be able to go out to go to work and return home, to buy food or medicines, to attend their doctors, or to go to a bank, or for exceptional reasons. Drivers may go out in their vehicles but only for the same purposes.
The measures will take effect from tomorrow, Sunday 15 March, and place Spain under the control of the Ministries of Defence, Interior, Transport and Health. The full decree is HERE.
Updated 12.30pm, 14/3: Compared with yesterday, Tenerife now has 13 more active cases bringing our total to 58. Gran Canaria has three more with 16, La Palma up one to three, Lanzarote also up one to three, and Fuerteventura 1. There is also a new case in La Gomera. We therefore have 82 cases in the Canaries, two of whom are in serious condition. Still waiting the announcements from PM Sánchez who is currently in the Cabinet Meeting.
Updated 14 March: The FCO has this morning advised against all but essential travel to parts of Spain. These regions are the communities of Madrid and La Rioja, and the municipalities of La Bastida, Vitoria and Miranda de Ebro. The advice does not apply to the Canaries, and airlines are continuing to run flights as normal to and from the whole of Spain (for the moment, and with the exception of Jet2 as explained below).
The FCO says that the advice is because these areas have been designated by Spain as areas of community transmission, and that there is no advice against travel to other parts of Spain, but official travel advice is constantly under review. British nationals with upcoming journeys planned should check with their airlines and tour operators. The FCO says it is not advising those in Spain to leave as transport routes out of the country remain open.
Despite the advice from the FCO, and despite the fact that restrictions so far have only been imposed in some parts of Spain, Jet2 has announced all flights to anywhere in Spain have been cancelled forthwith. This is before the pending announcements that the whole of Spain is awaiting from PM Sánchez later on the specific measures that will be introduced under the extraordinary and extraordinarily wide-ranging powers that the State of Emergency gives him.
Updated 11pmm 13/3: Tenerife President Ángel Víctor Torres has this evening called on the public to exercise the utmost calm they’re able to and to avoid panic buying. Torres spoke after an emergency Government Council, and said that there was ample supply for people not to worry. Whatever else might yet be announced, supermarkets, health centres and pharmacies will remain open during the duration of this health crisis, the President stressed. Torres has stressed time and again that food and basic products supply is guaranteed to the Canaries, and he again repeated that supermarkets and chemists will remain open.
The President also expressed his sadness about the first death in the islands, confirmed earlier. He appealed to the public’s civic sense, and said it is vital to behave with responsibility. The President said that the State of Emergency (in Spanish it’s actually State of Alarm but it’s an equivalence). will inevitably deal with health, economic and social measures linked to the covid19 crisis. He confirmed that once the national Government’s measures were announced, there would be another meeting of the Canarian authorities and discussions with Madrid so that further regional measures could be determined and announced.
Meanwhile, the Private Hospitals Association in Tenerife has put itself and its resources at the disposal of Canarian Health Minister Teresa Cruz. The Association is to collaborate with the state system to avoid a possible saturation of beds and overwhelming of resources. The Association comprises the centres belonging to the Hospiten Group (Hospiten Sur, Hospiten Rambla, Hospiten Bellevue, Hospiten Tamaragua), Quirón (Costa Adeje and Santa Cruz), and Clínica San Juan de Dios. Between them they have 956 beds.
Updated 8.30pm, 13/3: The Tenerife Cabildo says that further to the measures announced yesterday (8pm update yesterday) to prevent the spread of covid19, these further measures will apply from tomorrow. The Teleférico will be closed, as will all visitor centres and museums, walking routes, and all activities within the national park. Vehicles will still be able to drive through the caldera. All councils are advised to close all beaches – this is a recommendation not an instruction but many will comply.
Tonight, too, Canarian President Torres says that there will be further announcements of measures taken by the Canarian Government after the national Government announces its state of emergency measures following tomorrow’s special Saturday cabinet meeting in Madrid.
Finally, tragically tonight, the Canaries can count their first covid19 fatality. An 80-year-old woman has died from the condition. Apart from her age she is said to have had underlying health conditions: she was one of the seriously ill patients in Gran Canaria. Anticipating tomorrow’s announcements, President Torres has urged everyone in the Canaries to stay at home.
Updated 6pm, 13/3: TITSA has announced that it will be temporarily stopping cash payments from next Tuesday, 17 March. The company says that it will only accept Ten+ and mobile payments. The measure is being adopted to try to follow Sanidad’s advice to avoid spreading covid19.
The Canarian Government’s education department meanwhile has said that it is putting 6,000 digital education resources at the disposal of staff to allow them to teach virtually and online.
Updated 2.30pm, 13/3: Sanidad has confirmed the new total for today. We have 14 new cases in Tenerife bringing our total to 45, now 13 in Gran Canaria, 2 in La Palma and 1 in Fuerteventura. There are also now two in Lanzarote. There are therefore 63 active cases in the Canaries. Of the 63, 18 are in hospital, the remainder in home isolation. Of those in hospital, three are in a serious condition, two in Gran Canaria and one in Tenerife.
In the last hour, Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez has decreed a “state of emergency” for the whole of Spain since cases have exceeded 4,200 nationally with over 100 deaths. The measure is less dramatic than it could be presented … it is not panic measures, but is, Sánchez says, a mechanism to mobilize all necessary resources to protect all citizens in the coronavirus crisis. We will be informed of what these measures will mean for us tomorrow after the Government’s cabinet meeting.
Updated 13 March: Sanidad reminds the public that there is a free helpline for any enquiries about coronavirus – 900 112 061. For emergency cases, however, call 112. I suspect they are inundated with calls they don’t consider necessary because the information provided online in official sites, and collaborative sites like In Tenerife, is really all they can offer. They plead with the public not to saturate services, and only call with regard to covid19 if it is about a suspected case or a particular need for specific information not provided in routine announcements.
Updated 11pm, 12/3: Canarian President Torres said this evening that the regional Government is preparing an economic package to alleviate the effects of the covid19 pandemic. They are considering measures such as allowing companies to postpone IGIC payments, and say that the public should rest easy because there is no reason to panic. Torres said that he will be having an online meeting with Spanish PM Sánchez on Saturday and will be requesting further resources for the region in respect of essential services.
Updated 8pm, 12/3: The Tenerife Cabildo has introduced its own measures within the regime introduced yesterday by the Canarian Government. The Cabildo says that they will be in place for at least the next fortnight, with the evolution of the situation being monitored so as to enable the authorities to take decisions as appropriate.
Tenerife President Pedro Martin says that the adoption of the exceptional measures are to attempt to contain the spread of Covid19, and include the suspension or postponement of all sports, cultural, educational or informative activities of a collective nature that are under the organization of the island corporation, whether they take place in open or closed spaces. President Martín said that all the measures are being implemented in coordination with the Canarian Government as well as the other island Cabildos.
The President also referred specifically to decisions taken to protect the elderly, the population at greatest risk, with around 6,000 residential and daytime places within Tenerife’s social policies network. Martín said that in accordance with the Canarian Government’s measures. visits to the elderly in centres linked to the Institute of Social and Socio-sanitary Attention (IASS) are suspended. and clubs and leisure centers for the elderly are closed. Day centre activity where space is shared with residential centres will also be suspended from tomorrow, Friday 13 March.
With regard to essential public services, the Cabildo has adopted preventative measures and action protocols to minimize the risk of contagion among personnel like firefighters, forestry brigades, road maintenance and conservation teams, as well as those manning Tenerife’s integral water cycle. Recreational areas and camping zones, as well as the Santa Cruz-Ofra sports complex which is run by the Cabildo, are now closed, with the Santiago Martín Pavilion and Tenerife Trade Fair Center programmes suspended. Sports and training programmes under the Cabildo’s jurisdiction are also suspended for a fortnight, at present, including the Cabildo Games, the Youth Sports Programme and the Adapted Island Sports Programme.
With regard to public transport, The Cabildo has established measures to guarantee the provision of bus and tram services. Exhaustive additional cleaning and disinfection is carried out with specific products in the areas of common use with particular emphasis on handles, bars, ticket machines, etc., and in the drivers’ cabins. Trams will incorporate an automatic door opening system from tomorrow to avoid users having to touch door buttons.
The Cabildo’s museums, cultural centres and visitors’ centres such as the Casas del Vino and Miel, the Teleférico and the Cueva del Viento will remain open to the public but without organised activities and with controlled capacity.
More widely tonight, Aena has confirmed that flights to the US from any part of Spain are not suspended across the board. Aena says that “the entry to the US is banned for people coming from the Schengen area unless they are American nationals or permanent residents (or their families) for the next 30 days”. Aena recommends passengers to check with airlines. Meanwhile, Morocco has suspended flights to and from Spain until further notice. Flights over Spanish air space or direct to and from the Canaries are not affected. Again, passengers are advised to check with their airline.
Updated 3pm, 12/3: The Canarian Government’s education department has closed all education centres in the Canaries. The measure affects every centre at all levels from infant schools to universities from tomorrow. The closures will last, at present, for the next fortnight. The measure has been taken in conjunction with the Canarian Government’s Health Department, as Sanidad says that students are not under particular risk at all but the centres of education can be rife for the virus to spread and be taken home where more vulnerable people will be subject to the risk.
Updated 12 March: Yesterday’s 20 cases in Tenerife have now, sadly, risen to 31, Sanidad has confirmed this lunchtime. Gran Canaria’s 7 cases have risen to 12, La Palma now has 2, and Fuerteventura still the 1. The total of active cases of Covid19 in the islands is therefore 46.
The Canarian Government has this morning called for public cooperation in abiding by the regime introduced yesterday to attempt to stop the spread of Covid19 in the islands. Sanidad reminded the public that the measures include suspension of school trips beyond the Canaries (though some schools have clearly started imposing their own restrictions on trips within the islands). For his part, President Torres has reiterated that all gatherings over 1,000 are banned throughout the Canaries.
Updated 8.30pm, 11/3: Reassuring words tonight from WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus about Spain’s response to the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Solo con la implicación y responsabilidad de toda la sociedad, y trabajando de forma coordinada desde las distintas administraciones superaremos esta situación.— Pedro Sánchez (@sanchezcastejon) March 11, 2020
Estamos listos, @DrTedros, para luchar unidos frente al #COVID19. Juntos lo lograremos. pic.twitter.com/rZexKAxMnn
Updated 5.15pm, 11/3: Following the Canarian Government’s extraordinary session chaired by President Torres, all social, sporting and cultural events involving more than 1,000 people are suspended. Visits to patients in hospitals are restricted, as are visits to nursing homes. All clubs and social centres for the elderly are suspended for a fortnight. With specific regard to carnivals, the president said that they are activities with a massive influx of people and they are therefore suspended. The Government intends to contain the virus, Torres said, and for that reason it has to take preventative measures, confirmed health minister Teresa Cruz
Updated 5pm, 11/3: The World Health Organization has this afternoon confirmed that it is classifying the Covid19 outbreak as a pandemic. WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the cases outside China had increased 13-fold over the last fortnight, and that he was very concerned about “alarming levels of inaction” over the virus. He said that the new classification merely showed that the disease is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time, and reassured the public that although this was the first pandemic of one of the coronavirus family, it was also the first pandemic that the world could control. Dr Tedros urged governments to change the course of the outbreak with “urgent and aggressive action”.
Updated 4pm, 11/3: The Canarian education department has announced that all school trips to anywhere in Spain and abroad are suspended until further notice. Trips between the Canary islands can go ahead. Similarly, all types of work experience in companies or work centres for students in Vocational Training from families involved in healthcare are cancelled, as will further professional groups about which more information will be provided shortly. The Government says that this is a preventive measure adopted for the benefit of students and teachers in Canarian educational centres.
The Government also urges the management of all Canarian educational establishments to make soaps and/or disinfectant gels available to the whole educational community, as well as requesting them to reinforce information to promote respiratory hygiene and hand washing, especially at entrances and exits, after breaks and in school canteens. The companies that carry out cleaning services in public centres will be available for any necessary reinforcement actions.
In view of the hoaxes that circulate on different social platforms and messaging applications, the Education Department expressly denies any schools have been closed for general education. The situation in schools continues as normal and the Government says that it does not consider it necessary to apply additional measures to those of the hygiene measures set out above and previously established.
Meanwhile, Canarian President Torres is currently chairing an extraordinary session, and so more announcements may be expected later. For now, the Government has again stressed the helpline number 900 112 061 for any consultation or information, but 112 for suspected cases.
Updated 11 March: This morning Sanidad has confirmed we have a jump from 13 to 20 cases in Tenerife. Five are in hospital: the four from the group of Italians from the H10 plus one more; the remainder are in home isolation. There is also a new confirmed case in Gran Canaria bringing the total there to seven. Fuerteventura has still only the one. There are therefore 28 active cases in the Canaries.
The Canarian Government will be holding an Executive Committee meeting this afternoon to analyse and agree measures to be taken from now. The meeting will comprise representatives from the Canarian health, tourism and education departments as well as various political agencies such as the Cabildos, DGSE (Emergencies Board).
And finally, given my mailbag, I think it’s best to repeat (again) that Sanidad has a free helpline – 900 112 061 – for the medical staff who man it to attend to any concerns and requests for information from the public. Most importantly, though, anyone who thinks they might have symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19 such as cough, sore throat, fever, breathlessness, etc, should ring 112 not the helpline, and they should not go to a local surgery or hospital without first speaking to emergency services. Tests can then be carried out in the home of the person concerned. The helpline is just for information and advice, not suspected cases.
Updated 2pm 10 March: Tenerife has a new case, its 13th in the current outbreak, confirmed this lunchtime by Sanidad. Of the 13, four are the H10 Italians in hospital, three still without symptoms; apart from these four, only one of the other nine is in hospital, the remainder being in home isolation. There are still six confirmed cases in Gran Canaria and one in Fuerteventura: there are thus 20 current confirmed cases in the islands. Of them all only one, in Gran Canaria, is seriously ill at present.
Updated 10 March: Sanidad has confirmed that the regional health authorities will fully incorporate the plans announced by the national Government’s Health Dept last night to include a set of protection measures for specific populations, including the following:
- Promoting home care for the elderly
- Expressly recommending all older people with chronic or multipathological illnesses, or who have congenital or acquired immunosuppression to avoid going out as much as they can
- Recommending everyone to take personal responsibility to avoid unnecessary journeys
- Advising anyone who starts to suffer respiratory symptoms and/or fever to stay home and call 112, and not go to health care facilities or to work.
Meanwhile, the Spanish Government has this morning published an “extraordinary measure” banning all direct flights between Spain and Italy.
Updated 11pm: I think it’s best to repeat that Sanidad has a free helpline – 900 112 061 – for the medical staff who man it to attend to any concerns and requests for information from the public. Most importantly, though, anyone who thinks they might have symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19 such as cough, sore throat, fever, breathlessness, etc, should ring 112 not the helpline, and they should not go to a local surgery or hospital without first speaking to emergency services. Tests can then be carried out in the home of the person concerned. The helpline is just for information and advice, not suspected cases.
Updated 9pm: The Canarian Government has announced the precautionary closure of the Colegio Salesianos in La Orotava. The reason is given as elevated absenteeism but it is thought to be the location of one of the “unrelated cases” in Tenerife, thought to be a teacher at the school.
Updated 8.30pm: The national Government’s Health Minister Salvador Illa has announced this evening that the approach to the outbreak in Spain will change, moving from a containment phase to one of reinforced containment. This situation is evolving and special measures are tonight imposed on areas where significant social transmission is occurring.
Currently, in these areas, which are for the moment only the autonomous community of Madrid, the city of Vitoria and town of Labastida (both in the Basque Country), schools will be closed, and the public has been urged to take personal responsibility and avoid unnecessary travel. This means that people are advised to work telematically wherever possible, to stagger working hours and shifts to reduce worker concentrations, and to hold meetings by videoconference.
Throughout the whole of Spain, the Health Department’s Interterritorial Council has agreed a set of protection measures for specific populations, i.e. the elderly and those with underlying health conditions. Anyone who is elderly or suffers from chronic, multi-pathological conditions, or with congenital or acquired immunosuppression should stay at home as much as possible. Certainly they should avoid crowded places where it is not possible to maintain the interpersonal safety distance of at least 1m. Anyone who begins to experience respiratory symptoms and/or fever is advised to stay at home and call 112 for appropriate instructions.
In the Canaries this evening, Sanidad has confirmed two new cases in Gran Canaria. Both are Dutch tourists who are in good condition and in isolation. The current tally is therefore 19: 12 in Tenerife, 6 in Gran Canaria, and 1 in Fuerteventura. And in literally the last few minutes, the Italian lockdown has been extended by PM Conte to the whole of Italy, not just the most severely affected areas of the north. Unprecedented peacetime measures.
Updated 5.15pm: There are two advice pages from the UK Government for those concerned about covid-19. The page HERE provides general information, and the one HERE gives answers to commonly asked questions.
Updated 9 March: Tenerife has one new case this morning, someone who was in close contact with one of the patients in home isolation. The new case brings the island’s total to 12 active cases. Four are from the group of H10 Italian tourists (3 still without symptoms), of the other eight here, only one is in hospital, the others being in isolation at home.
In Gran Canaria, a second patient of the group of four has now been taken into hospital, one is said to be in a serious but stable condition. Both these patients had underlying health conditions.
Back in Tenerife, the quarantine at the H10 has been lifted today and so any guests who had not already left can now do so.
Updated 8pm: Sanidad says this evening that two Italians from the H10 who have been in hospital have now got a double negative test result. They will be released from hospital in coming hours. We are down to 11 in Tenerife.
Updated 7pm: This is Dr Richard Hatchett, CEO of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. This is an analysis of the global sitation with specific respect to this COVID-19 outbreak. We should all pay heed. It is not scaremongering, but authoritative. It also accords this virus the respect it deserves when the likes of Donald Trump and his followers are downplaying it and calling it “corona flu”. If it is like anything to do with flu, it equates most to “Spanish Flu” … and that alone shows how seriously we need to take this illness. We can do this without panic, but we must do it.
Updated 8 March: No news is good news, and we have only consolidation news today, no new cases. And that is very good news! Sanidad reconfirms today that Tenerife has 13 cases:
- 6 Italian tourists from the H10. All are in hospital but only one has symptoms;
- 4 in La Laguna, an Italian resident in Tenerife recently arrived back from the affected part of his country, and three of his close contacts. All are in home isolation and with either slight or no symptoms;
- 3 further cases unrelated to the former or each other. One is in hospital with some symptoms, another in home isolation with no symptoms, and a third in home isolation no longer suffering symptoms that they had previously.
In Gran Canaria there are still only the four cases in Agüimes, 3 in home isolation but the fourth now in hospital. All have some symptoms. Finally, the Fuerteventura case is a Canarian recently returned from an affected part of Italy. They are in home isolation and without symptoms.
The H10 departure operation continues with 643 guests having left by 11am this morning.
Updated 8.30pm: Sanidad has registered three new cases of COVID-19 in the Canaries this evening, two in Tenerife and one in Fuerteventura. In Tenerife, one is in hospital having recently returned from one of the main areas affected in Italy which as of tonight is in lockdown until 3 April. They have symptoms but another in Tenerife is symptom free and so is under home isolation. The Fuerteventura case is also home isolated and symptom free at present: they are said to have had contact with Italian nationals.
In Gran Canaria, one of the four Italians whose case is already recorded has now been taken to hospital from home isolation. We are now at 18 cases: 13 in Tenerife (7 in hospital, 6 in home isolation); 4 in Gran Canaria (1 in hospital, 3 at home); and now 1 in Fuerteventura (home).
Updated 5pm: Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has given some recommendations for the general public to be able to continue to live their daily lives, but to do it mindfully and safely. As Dr Tedros says, “the world is fighting COVID-19 together as one. And yet life must go on. I hope everyone is taking rest this weekend.” His recommendations, in bullet point form are:
- Do something healthy. If you can, get outside, enjoy fresh air, take a walk or bike ride with family and friends.
- If you can’t go outside, you might try yoga or tai chi inside your home.
Continue washing your hands often and with care, following WHO guidelines.
- Use soap or commercial hand sanitizer. Soap is actually great if local shops have run out of sanitizer solution.
- If you’re feeling unwell, stay home. If your friend or relatives are unwell, don’t visit them, especially if they’re in an elder care facility or nursing home. You can always phone them up or communicate digitally.
- When greeting people, best to avoid elbow bumps because they put you within one meter of the other person. He says he likes to put his hand on his heart when he greets people these days.
Updated 7 March: Sanidad says this lunchtime that another case has been confirmed in Tenerife, a third close contact of the La Laguna patient. We now have 15 active cases in the Canaries, 11 in Tenerife – 6 Italian tourists from the H10 now in hospital, 4 now in La Laguna municipio isolated at home, yesterday’s new case in Santa Cruz isolated at home – and 4 in Gran Canaria, all Italian tourists in Agüimes.
Three cases have already recovered – the two Germans in La Gomera and the British woman in Tenerife from the H10. I should like to emphasize Sanidad’s information that all the current cases in the Canaries are either without symptoms or experiencing symptoms only lightly. None are in a condition that’s remotely serious, and certainly none are expected to do anything other than make a complete recovery.
With regard to the guests still in the H10, Sanidad says that the operation of departures continues with 525 guests having left by lunchtime today, all under established protocol.
Updated 8pm: The latest case is in Santa Cruz, Sanidad has confirmed this evening. It is a patient who has recently returned from Italy. There are now 14 positives in the Canaries. In Tenerife, 6 Italians from the H10; 3 in La Laguna, an Italian and two close contacts; the new case in Santa Cruz; and the 4 Italians in Gran Canaria. Three cases have already recovered – the two Germans in La Gomera and the British woman in Tenerife from the H10.
Updated 4pm: Sanidad has confirmed a new case in Tenerife, someone who travelled from a high-risk area. They are currently in isolation and in good shape. More follows.
Updated 3pm: Sanidad has confirmed three new cases in Gran Canaria. The three are close contacts of the Italian who so far has been the only case in the island. All four are isolated and in good shape. There are now 12 active cases in the Canaries: 8 in Tenerife – 6 from the H10 and 2 in La Laguna, and 4 in Gran Canaria.
Updated 6 March: Sanidad has confirmed a new case in La Laguna, of someone who had close contact with the case confirmed yesterday in the same municipio. Both are in isolation and good health. There are now nine active cases in the Canaries: 8 in Tenerife – 6 from the H10 and 2 in La Laguna, and 1 Italian tourist in Gran Canaria.
Updated 8pm: Another case has been confirmed by Sanidad in Tenerife. Again it is a guest in the H10, a close contact of one of the Italians in hospital. As of 6pm, the operation for guests confirmed to be clear of COVID19 to depart the hotel continues with 443 departures, half the guests who were present when the protection measures were introduced. There are now seven cases in Tenerife, the five Italian holidaymakers, the new guest at the hotel whose identity is still to be confirmed, and the Italian resident of La Laguna.
Updated 5.30pm: There is now a first case in Gran Canaria, an Italian tourist. There are now the six cases in Tenerife, five Italian holidaymakers from the H10 and today’s case of the Italian La Laguna resident, and the new one in Gran Canaria.
Updated 5 March: Sanidad has confirmed this lunchtime a new positive result for Covid19 in Tenerife, this time in the municipio of La Laguna. The person is an Italian national resident in Tenerife who has recently returned from his home country. He is in good health and remains isolated at home. Obviously further news will be forthcoming.
The group of six holidaymakers from the H10 remain the only other confirmed cases in Tenerife. The six are progressing well, in good shape, and remain isolated in hospital with regular blood tests being taken. The British patient has, indeed, now tested negative twice and will be released in the near future as will any others whose tests return a double negative result, as has already also happened to the two cases in La Gomera. At the H10 itself, 246 guests had left as of last evening, with the scaled departures continuing today., some 400 expecting to leave within hours.
Nationally, Spanish Health minister Salvador Illa has said today he is travelling to Brussels for meetings to coordinate the EU-wide response to the outbreak. Illa sent his commiserations to the families of the now three individuals who have died in Spain from Covid19 so far, and confirmed the latest number of cases registered this lunchtime is 208 (the figures include those who have recovered).
Updated 3.30pm: And the hoped for news has been confirmed. Sanidad says that the German woman in La Gomera has now tested negative and that negative has been confirmed in a second test by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III. She will be released from hospital in the next few hours. The Canaries will therefore have just the six cases in Tenerife, five Italians and the British woman. All six are in good shape and their condition is progressing well.
Nationally, Spain has now recorded 198 cases by noon today. Here, Canarian President Torres has said that they won’t again lockdown an entire hotel should there be another case in Tenerife. Instead, using the experience gained in the H10 quarantine, other measures will be taken that will not require the isolation of all guests and employees but only those affected and those in their immediate environment, but still within the established approved and necessary security and prevention measures. The President said that protocols are updated daily within the framework of advice from the national Government, the EU, and the WHO, and that they are based on all requirements for responding to a global health alert such as coronavirus.
Torres stressed that the rapid intervention of the Canarian Government and its health department Sanidad has enabled Tenerife to limit the outbreak to these six cases and show that we are a secure destination. In terms of the H10 itself the President said that the plan of departures for guests continues, with 215 leaving as of 7pm yesterday. As we already know, they are allowed to leave under the three conditions of being asymptomatic 24 hours before departure, to have tested negative less than 24 hours before departure, and with a guaranteed plan from their home country for their return and monitoring. British guests are being told, however, that their original home quarantine of 14 days must now be extended since a British guest has tested positive: it will now be 14 days from 2 March, the date of that positive result.
Most importantly, and as the BBC’s Dan Johnson put it so well, life goes on as normal here, with no effects beyond the hotel to alter daily routines either in tourist areas or the rest of the island. Everything is open, normality reigns, and everyone and everything is calm. There is official advice in English on protecting oneself from the virus HERE but this is a beautiful and wonderful place in which there are six isolated cases. Not many parts of the world can actually say that right now.
Updated 4 March: Fingers crossed for later when the German patient in La Gomera is retested. Canarian President Torres himself said this morning that if these tests come back negative he could be released from hospital. Meanwhile, in a post that will do us far more good that any amount of tourism promotional material, the BBC’s Dan Johnson has tweeted the following after returning from Tenerife where he was one of the BBC’s crew reporting on the outbreak at the H10. It’s an excellent promotion for us, and will be read around the world!
Updated 9pm: British Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott has said this evening that the FCO is continuing to work with the Spanish authorities to get British nationals in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel home as quickly as possible. The ambassador apologises for any confusion about testing and flights arrangements, and says that it has been a complex situation with over 100 already home. He confirms that a process has been agreed with the Spanish authorities to ensure that required testing can be programmed, and all British nationals in the hotel should now have had an email from the FCO directly or a letter via the hotel. Anyone who has not should get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also tonight, sadly, Spain has confirmed its first death from the virus. It is the case of a 69-year-old man who died in Valencia on 13 February from pneumonia: he had been visiting Nepal which has a border with China but is not considered an area of risk due to suffering just one case of the virus. Subsequent tests, however, as the outbreak in Spain worsened, have confirmed that his pneumonia was indeed coronavirus COVID-19.
Updated 5.30pm: As of 5pm, the Spanish Public Health authorities have confirmed that coronavirus cases in Spain now number 151: Andalucía 13, Asturias 1, Baleares 3, Canarias 7, Cantabria 10, CyL 8, CLM 7, Cataluña 15, C. Valenciana 15, Extremadura 6, Madrid 49, Navarra 1, País Vasco 13, La Rioja 3.
Updated 3 March: Sanidad has confirmed this afternoon that the 7th and latest case here in the Canaries, the 6th in Tenerife, is a British woman.
The national Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre Director Fernando Simón said this morning that those with concerns should not call 112, the emergency line that was only for emergencies. Of course anyone considering themselves to be infected should call 112 but for general information, advice, doubts, etc., the public should call the free helplines provided. In the Canaries that is Sanidad’s helpline 900 112 061.
National numbers have risen again. Spain’s cases now number 129. By regions, they are: Andalucía 13, Asturias 1, Baleares 2, Canarias 7 (all progressing well), Cantabria 10, CyL 8, CLM 3, Cataluña 15, C. Valenciana 15, Extremadura 6, Madrid 34, Navarra 1, País Vasco 13, La Rioja 1.
Here in Tenerife, the Cabildo’s Minister of Territorial Planning, Historical Heritage and Tourism, José Gregorio Martín Plata, has announced that a communication plan has been set up to try to mitigate the consequences of coronavirus on the island’s main economic engine. The plan “involves the tourism sector in the planned actions as well as permanent contact with our offices abroad”, the Minister said. Insuar Tourist Board chief David Pérez emphasized that “the strategy includes an ambitious campaign to relaunch the destination”.
Martín Plata explained that the plan is the result of intense contacts between the Cabildo and various agents of the tourism sector, and that it also involves continuous follow-ups of how the current situation is progressing in the ports and airports, in the hotel establishments, and in tourist information offices. In addition, he stressed the importance of the continuous “positive” messages that are being promulgated in Tenerife social media networks and in the daily media communications.
With regard to the “relaunch”, Pérez explained that the plan contemplates an ambitious communication campaign, both online and off to promote Tenerife in its main markets in order to provide continuity to existing strategies. He stressed that in addition to the daily meetings within Turismo de Tenerife itself are others with the wider Cabildo including the island president Pedro Martin, as well as with regional health Minister Teresa Cruz, and head of the Canarian Epidemiology department Domingo Nunez. Among other aims, a principal concern is to ensure coordinated correct information goes to all involved in the tourism sector here.
In addition, the Cabildo said, they analyse daily information from Tenerife Turismo’s representative offices in the UK, France, Germany, Russia and the US, as well as by the Tourism Offices of Spain and the main tour operators and airlines that work with Tenerife, and of course all Tenerife’s official social media networks. All this “will allow us to know what is being perceived about the island, which in turn will make it possible to adapt the messages,” said Perez.
We can therefore expect quite an upturn in positive noises about tourism here, but meanwhile many are concerned that although this outbreak is clearly confined, we are a prime tourism destination with people arriving from around the world daily, any of whom could bring this virus through ports and airports which we cannot close. The official general advice, therefore, is keep your distance, maybe elbow pump rather than shake hands, and wash hands frequently and thoroughly. Face masks are for the sick and frontline health workers, and therefore unnecessary and futile in public spaces: the advice is don’t waste your money, especially when some chemists here are reportedly charging €30 a pop for a single mask.
Finally, some parts of Spain are reporting conmen calling at dwellings to do “compulsory coronavirus tests”. There are no such tests carried out by any such people. Only official health departments around the country carry out testing through normal medical procedures. Anyone who thinks they might be infected should call 112 and receive instructions in that call: they must not go to a hospital, local surgery or private doctor.
Updated 9pm: Sanidad says tonight that the sixth Tenerife case of coronavirus which has been confirmed in a guest at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace was not one of the group of Italians. They were, however, being monitored in isolation because of perceived inreased risk.
The EU itself has announced tonight that it has escalated the Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) arrangements from information sharing mode to full activation mode. IPCR full activation allows for an increased focus on identifying major gaps across sectors and elaborating concrete EU response measures at presidency-led roundtables. These crisis meetings bring together representatives of the office of the President of the European Council, the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS), affected member states and other relevant parties. Roundtable participants prepare, develop and update proposals for actions to be discussed and decided upon by the Council.
The IPCR arrangements strengthen the EU’s ability to take rapid decisions when facing major cross-sectoral crises requiring a response at EU political level. They provide the necessary support from EU institutions and services in the context of a crisis and its evolution. These arrangements are based on the principle of subsidiarity, fully respecting member states’ responsibilities in a crisis situation. They do not replace existing arrangements at sectorial level.
Updated 7pm: Sanidad has confirmed a new positive test result in Tenerife, again one of those at the H10 hotel who was under isolation for monitoring. The patient booked in on 23 February, is currently without symptoms and in good shape. There are now seven current cases in the Canaries, six in Tenerife and one in La Gomera.
Figures this evening from Spain’s Public Health authorities confirm that there are now 114 cases in the country, as follows:
Castile and León 3
Castile-La Mancha 3
C. Valenciana 15
País Vasco 9
La Rioja 1
Updated 2 March: Around 200 guests will be able to leave the H10 Costa Adeje Palace today, says Canarian President Torres, adding to the almost 100 who left yesterday. Torres stressed that of the nearly 1000 in the hotel at the start of the outbreak, only 5 have tested positive.
The president said that the logistics of the operation to get everyone home was similar to that undertaken when Thomas Cook went out of business, and its smooth operation is essential for the reputation of these islands. He reiterated that the successful coordination of all authorities and agencies since the first case was discovered at the end of January in La Gomera amply demonstrates the sucess of the operation in a very difficult situation, which the president described as one of the worst weeks he could remember.
Meanwhile, the five patients in Tenerife who remain in isolation in Candelaria Hospital continue to progress well with light symptoms only, and Fernando Simón, Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre Director, has stressed that basic hygiene measures remain the fundamental means of avoiding transmission. This is also the message being very strongly and uniformly given by the British authorities in the UK, with the PM saying wash your hands with soap and water, and do it long enough to get through two verses of Happy Birthday.
Finally, BBC1 is broadcasting an “Everything You Need to Know special” at 7:30pm tonight.
Updated 4pm: Sanidad has defined the protocol for the departure of guests at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace who will be classified according to their situation and the time they have been in Tenerife. The first group comprises those who have had symptoms and tested positive (5 so far); they will be treated in Spain and will return to their country when they are discharged from hospital. This group also includes those who have presented mild symptoms at some point during the follow-up, with negative diagnostic tests and who are in quarantine.
A second group consists of people who entered the hotel on 24 February. They are considered to be at no risk of exposure and may leave the hotel and return home without taking any further action.
A third group comprises those who booked in prior to 24 February, who have been monitored and remain asymptomatic. They will be able to leave the hotel and take flights to their countries under three conditions:
- that they continue to be asymptomatic;
- that they have tested negative in tests analysed no more than 24 hours previously;
- that the guests’ countries of origin have established the return mechanism and guarantee the continuity of their follow-up when they arrive home.
Updated 3pm: The six positive cases in the Canaries continue to progress well. To 11am this Sunday, 73 people have left the hotel and the departure operation continues. British guests do not appear to be among the departures, however, with test results still awaited. They are to be allowed to leave provided they test negative and can fly within 24 hours of that negative result, and must then self-isolate at home for 14 days.
Updated 12.30pm: The latest count of cases in Spain is 73, two of which are recovered, the initial German in La Gomera and a British case in Mallorca. There are therefore 71 active cases in the country, as follows:
15 C. Valenciana
3 País Vasco,
3 Castilla y León
1 each in Navarra, Cantabria, Asturias, Baleares and Castilla-La Mancha.
Updated midday: British nationals may be able to leave once their test results come back later today. In a turnaround by at least TUI, they will be allowed to fly provided their results are negative. British nationals were tested yesterday after they were instructed to attend the Salon Drago on the second floor of the hotel for testing.
Updated 1 March: In the last 24 hours, the number of cases in Spain has jumped from 46 to 66, as follows:
C. Valenciana 15
Canarias 7 (one is the original German in La Gomera, now recovered)
Castilla y León 3
País Vasco 3
Castilla-La Mancha 1
As of last evening, 71 people have left the H10, nine are Spanish, the rest foreigners. All the six cases in Canaries, five here and one in La Gomera, are progressing favourably. The operation to facilitate the departure of the group of 130 able to leave continues. An extraordinary meeting of the national Inter-territorial Health Committee is taking place at noon today with Canarian Health Minister Teresa Cruz attending telematically. Negotiations with embassies and consulates of countries of other guests continue so as to be able to get them home smoothly.
Updated 3.15pm: In the last half hour Sanidad has confirmed a new case of COVID19 in Tenerife. The case is one of the group of Italian tourists within which the four existing cases have occurred, and the patient is said to be a close contact of one of the group. They have been in isolation in their room because of this contact since 24 February and have now tested positive. They are in good health and are being transferred to hospital at this very moment. There are now five cases in Tenerife and one in La Gomera.
Updated 3pm: Sanidad has said this lunchtime that the five patients who have tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19 in the Canaries, four Italian tourists in Tenerife and a woman resident in La Gomera, all remain in isolation and under protocol, and the condition of all five is evolving satisfactorily. Three have light symptoms while two remain without symptoms. All analysis done on anyone connected with the five has returned negative test results, The Canaries therefore remain free of the infection in society at large.
The Government confirmed that of the 57 guests who have already left the H10 Costa Adeje Palace and who form part of the 130 cleared to leave subject to ongoing sanitary monitoring, nine are Spanish nationals and the rest foreigners. To preserve guests’ privacy, all departures will follow in the same vein throughout the day, with small groups departing without comment.
The Government says that it is continuing negotiations with foreign embassies and consulates so that the rest of the guests will be able to transfer to their home countries with full health and safety guarantees in place as set by international protocols. Inside the hotel, conditions are normal within the constraints of the sanitary measures set up for everyone’s protection. Sanidad has kept the free helpline – 900 112 061 – open for the medical staff who man it to attend to any concerns and requests for information from the public. The public is reminded that anyone who thinks they might have symptoms of Coronavirus COVID-19 such as cough, sore throat, fever, breathlessness, etc, should ring 112 and not go to a local surgery or hospital without first speaking to emergency services first. Tests can then be carried out in the home of the person concerned.
Updated 29 February: A further nine guests have left the hotel overnight bringing the total to 53 of those who have been able to leave since the adapted quarantine order was approved by the Courts. Canarian Health Minister Teresa Cruz has already said that the departures will be slow and discreet so that protocols can be rigidly adhered to and so that guests can be accorded the maximum privacy. The remainder of the guests not included in the batch of 130 who are deemed safe from possible contagion will have to wait until 9 March for their 14 day quarantine period to come to an end.
Tenerife President Pedro Martin reiterated yesterday that the number of cases in Tenerife has remained at four thanks to the procedures and coordinated actions agreed by the island Cabildo, and the regional and national Governments. Recently, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer claimed that a tourist from Buxton, Derbyshire, had tested positive in the UK after becoming infected with the virus in Tenerife, but rumours that the tourist stayed in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace remain unconfirmed, and given that only four of the Italian group itself have tested positive, and all subsequent tests have returned negative, it is difficult to see how a British tourist could have become infected there.
Alternatively, if the tourist became infected elsewhere in Tenerife, the medical authorities would have obtained further lockdown orders from the Courts just as they did in Adeje. The case has not been included in Spanish statistics which are regularly and openly updated, and there has been no response from the UK authorities to requests for information about the evidence behind the CMO’s claim.
Finally, Fernando Simón, Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre Director, said in this morning’s briefing that there are now 46 cases in Spain, up from 32 yesterday, including two that have already recovered, and the H-10 Costa Adeje Palace for its part has said that it is taking no new guests until further notice. Essentially it is closed until we hear differently.
Updated 6.30pm: Tenerife president Pedro Martín has chaired a meeting today with representatives of Tenerife Turismo, tour operators from the main tourism markets such as the UK, France and Germany, travel agencies, airlines, Ashotel, and Sanidad to pool information and discuss what health measures are being deployed and analyse the implications of Coronavirus on the tourist sector.
President Martín said that the main problem at the hotel today was not Coronavirus but “the misinformation that has been generated around it because there is currently no-one affected in the hotel, and all those who have been diagnosed are isolated and controlled, with their conditions evolving very well”.
Ashotel president Jorge Marichal pointed out that “there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to holiday experiences in the Canary Islands, because we are one of the best and safest destinations and we have shown that we have a very robust health system that can be trusted, but the tourism sector is also solid and capable of dealing with situations of many kinds, including this one”.
President Martín said he personally considered it very positive that there are no indications of anyone else being infected, and the general impression transmitted by the health authorities is that this situation is now contained and can be overcome in a very short time. The Cabildo has passed on all information it can to tour operators to pass on to their clients to facilitate their departure. Martín emphasized that the 14 day period of control over the hotel guests is the phase established by the World Health Organization, whose advice is incorporated into regional and national protocols for dealing with the outbreak.
Martín confirmed that some people have already left the island after testing negative. and said that the main thing now is to avoid generating fears which would be unfounded since there is no reason to believe, at this time, that the situation in the hotel will worsen.
Meanwhile, the Barceló Santiago in Puerto Santiago is refunding guests who cut short their vacation. One from Greater Manchester is leaving tomorrow night after arriving a week ago for a fortnight. Their flight tomorrow was the earliest available and the hotel has given a full refund for the unused period.
Updated 5pm: British nationals who are being released from the H-10 Costa Adeje Palace and who are officially able to leave the island nonetheless face having to stay here for logistical reasons after several airlines said they woud not let them fly until they test negative for Coronavirus COVID-19. The airlines, Jet2, TUI, and Easyjet have all said that passengers will have to wait until at least 10 March because their responsibility to customers, staff and the general public is paramount.
An FCO spokesperson says that the Consulate is offering advice and support to a number of British people in the hotel, and their families. The FCO said “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.”
Updated 3.30pm: Adeje Ayuntamiento has approved a motion to give public recognition to all the staff who have managed the situation while the hotel has been in quarantine for Coronavirus. The mayor, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, said today that the whole workforce has played a fundamental role in managing the situation, and shown that the Canary Islands can rightly claim to be a top quality destination able to respond to any contingency. In this case, the strength has been demonstrated by hotel staff as well as the island’s business and hotel sectors which have performed in an exemplary way, and indeed the resilience of the Canarian people themselves.
The council has therefore unanimously agreed to convey publicly the congratulations and gratitude of the people of Adeje and the council itself to all the workers and professionals of the tourist sector of the islands, the men and women actually behind the Canaries’ leadership in tourism. A special thank you is extended specifically to the entire staff of the Hotel H-10 Costa Adeje Palace who have carried on professionally in the midst of a health crisis that affected them first hand and which has caused them personally no small inconvenience.
Finally, the council formally thanked the other professionals and workers who have participated and continue to participate in the general management of the incident. This includes Canarian emergency personnel, 112-Canarias, medical personnel assigned to the different healthcare services, personnel from the Psychological Association of Santa Cruz, other professionals from other organizations and administrations, national security forces and bodies, local police and Adeje council workers as well.
Updated 2pm: A total of 44 guests have left the hotel as of lunchtime today. They are from a range of countries and are being allowed out in groups as will others throughout today. They will leave as discreetly as the 9 who left overnight. They are all under the jurisdiction of consulates and tour operators who have been in meetings with Canarian authorities so as to establish mechanisms to guarantee their return to countries of origin. They will all remain under medical review and monitoring for at least the next 14 days, but can return to their own countries.
Further testing of those still in the hotel is ongoing where symptoms are suspected, so far all are returning negative, with just six guests now confined to rooms because of their higher level of contact with the Italians who tested positive. The Government isn’t committing to any time limits for new recommendations but are following the protocol rigidly.
There has been a major jump overnight in official figures from the Public Health authorities of cases in Spain. Last night 15 were reported whereas today the number of confirmed cases is 32, as follows:
Castilla y León 2
Of the five cases in the Canaries, four in Tenerife and one in La Gomera, two still have no symptoms despite the positive test result, and the other three are showing just light symptoms.
Updated 28 February: Nine of the guests covered by the adapted Court order allowing them to leave because they arrived on the 24th and so were not able to access any part or occupants of the hotel considered at risk have now left the hotel. They have been screened and are all Canarian residents so will return to their homes here in the islands. Their departure was done discreetly at the guests’ own request.
The other 122 of the 130 guests in this category will be able to leave in due course after administrative procedures are carried out as required by the protocol set up by national and regional Governments for overseeing the outbreak. They will be able to leave today or tomrrow and will need to be monitored in their countries of origin. They will be monitored according to guarantees given by those countries, which was part of the reason the Consulates met with Government yesterday morning. The other 600 or so guests in the hotel will have to wait a while yet before they will be able to be released.
Updated 6pm: To take stock, Sanidad says tonight that to date there are 15 active cases of coronavirus in Spain. In total there have been 17 through the autonomous regions as follows:
The 6 in the Canaries comprise the German in La Gomera at the start of this month, and now the 4 Italians in Tenerife and the new case in La Gomera. The two no longer active are the German in La Gomera and the Balearics case which was in Mallorca, a British man who is also now released from hospital.
Updated 5pm: The Sindicalistas de Base Union has thanked both staff and guests at the hotel. Union representative Nieves López said that many guests have been very understanding of the situation and have shown great empathy for the situation of workers, the hotel management, and other guests. Overwhelmingly most guests are calm and grateful.
As far as the staff are concerned, whether reception, admin, waiting staff, cleaners, bars and restaurants, all areas are working marathon days, are exhausted and overwhelmed, but extremely proud of what they’re achieving. Some staff not present during the lockdown have voluntarily gone into work to help out which the Union says shows the professionalism of the team employed at the hotel.
The Union says that the Canarian health system is trusted, and everyone is following advice on protection, with gloves and masks, and checking their temperature several times a day. And obviously now staff will be able to come and go while self-monitoring. Guests also have all been supplied with their own thermometers, and are then phoned in their rooms several times a day for their latest readings.
Updated 2.30pm: Canarian Health Secretary Teresa Cruz says this lunchtime that the five patients who tested positive in the Canaries, four in Tenerife and one in La Gomera, are all in good condition and two are without any symptoms despite testing positive. She stressed that the Canaries is without doubt a secure place both for visitors and residents. Cruz said that the health system is one that has been able to act immediately and effectively to detect these cases, all of which have been brought into the islands.
Four teaching hospitals in these islands as well as Lanzarote hospital are now able to analyse samples which, the minister said, actually provided a significantly greater agility in this region than in other parts of Spain, and allowed medics to ascertain results within just a few hours. She added that the Court order imposing lockdown dating from the 24th has adapted the health and safety measures considered essential. Under the new adapted regime, hotel staff will be able to come and go, adopting protection measures as imposed by health officials at the scene.
The new adapted Court order also affects 130 guests from 11 different countries who arrived on the 24th and so who were not able to access any part or occupants of the hotel considered at risk. The minister said that these 130 will now be screened and, providing there are no indications that they need to be detained, will be allowed to leave the hotel and remain under their own surveillance.
No further cases have been identified other than the five in the Canaries openly reported, Cruz said, stressing the incredible and incredibly hard work the health authorities have been undertaking over recent days. Finally she reminded the public that ports and airports did not form part of the devolved powers under national Health legislation, and so the Canaries did not have jurisdiction over possible control points that passengers might be subject to in ports and airports.
Updated 27 February: Canarian Health Service director Blanca Méndez, together with the Public Health authorities, the Security and Emergencies Board, and the Canarian Police, have held an information and coordination meeting this morning with the consuls and consular representatives of countries with nationals affected by the quarantine of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace. Also meeting this morning has been the Evaluation and Monitoring Committee set up to track the outbreak. Afterwards, Director of the national Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Centre Fernando Simón said that we are in a situation that is evolving very quickly, and we have to have constant evaluation and monitoring of the ways in which this is developing.
We are still awaiting the second confirmatory test results from Madrid on the four cases tested here as positive, but meanwhile Chris Whitty, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer no less, has said today that one of the two new cases in the UK had just returned from Tenerife where they were infected. This is a pretty outrageous thing to say given that no-one yet knows the precise incubation period of Coronavirus COVID-19, with the longest period we’re aware of being 27 days in Wuhan itself. All that can be said for sure, therefore, is that a person now diagnosed in the UK had returned from Tenerife. Quite self-evidently, they could have picked up the virus in the airport in the UK where there are 15 cases in all, or given the unkown length of incubation, the couple might even have brought it to Tenerife with them! I consider this sort of statement from a medical expert to be careless and negligent!
Meanwhile, medical authorities here warn against panicked use of facemasks because they won’t help much in general terms and will put supplies at risk for those who need them urgently because they’re infected or frontline health workers. As Sanidad has already said, the virus is spread by tiny respiratory droplets, and so can be transmitted by close face-to-face contact, but is not a risk walking in the street. It is far more important, they say, given that the droplets aren’t good at being airborne, to wash hands frequently because these droplets can also be absorbed through the skin.
Finally, at lunchtime today it has been confirmed that the latest Spanish case, in Barcelona, is that of a 22-year-old woman from Tenerife who travelled to the mainland from Milan, and who is currently in isolation in the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.
Updated 8pm: Sanidad has said that a resident of Valle Gran Rey in La Gomera has tested positive for coronavirus. The woman had been in Italy between 4 and 8 February. She is currently in isolation in the Hospital General de La Gomera, and as with other cases, a second test has been done and has been sent to Madrid for confirmation.
Updated 7pm: Canarian President Ángel Víctor Torres has this afternoon met with members of the Tenerife Cabildo, tourism authorities and hotel organizations to review the correct and complete information available so far on the Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak in Tenerife so that all responsible official bodies are fully informed so as to be able to coordinate effectively.
The meeting was attended by Vice President Antonio Olivera, Canarian deputy Turismo minister Sergio Moreno, and Promotur manager María Méndez. Also among those present were Tenerife President Pedro Martín, and Tenerife Turismo chief David Pérez, president of Ashotel Jorge Marichal and his equivalent from the eastern province José María Mañaricúa, as well as representatives from tourism in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.
President Torres detailed the current situation and how it’s evolved so far with, now, four cases confirmed by first test which are still pending confirmation by the laboratory in Madrid. Torres thanked all present, representatives of both public and private sectors, for their efforts in managing this health alert in the most efficient way and expressed great appreciation for the messages of tranquillity and calm continuously and accurately conveyed by officials and the media.
All present agreed on the need for successful coordinated action and defined some areas in which immediate action could be taken to prevent possible damage to the tourism image of the Canary Islands. They committed to increase as necessary all human and material resources so as to ensure management of the outbreak is maintained at the highest level in coordination with national and international experts and organizations, from councils to foreign Governments and the World Health Organization itself.
The message is one of calm. We have an outbreak but so far it is contained, and all protocols are in place, and its management is coordinated according to recognized expert medical procedures and information.
Updated 2.30pm: Aena has issued official Sanidad-provided health advice for passengers. The advice applies specifically to any visitors coming to Tenerife from risk areas: these are defined as China (all parts including Hong Kong and Macao), South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Iran and Italy (esp Lombardy, Venice, Emilia-Romagna, and Piedmont).
Obviously, though, it is advice that could well be taken by any arrivals, and recommends travellers to monitor their state of health for 14 days after arrival, and if they experience any symptom such as sore throat, fever, cough, breathlessness, etc., they should self-isolate and contact 112. The helpline number 900 112 061 is for information and advice. Anyone who thinks they might have contracted Coronavirus COVID-19 should call 112 and follow instructions given over the phone … and most importantly, do not go to a doctor, whether privately, or to a local health centre, or a hospital. CALL 112.
Updated 12.30pm: The Canarian Health Secretary Teresa Cruz says that the four Italian tourists with Coronavirus COVID-19 are in a very comortable condition and not actively suffering. They obviously remain in isolation in hospital and we are still awaiting the second test results. Cruz added that every guest in the hotel has now been screened in just nine hours and 14 samples have been sent for testing. Most importantly, perhaps, all of the other Italians in the same group as the four affected have tested negative.
The minister also confirmed that the helpline 900 112 061 has attended to 677 calls in the last 24 hours, and that a sanitary coordinator has been designated to establish health measures in the hotel itself where the staff are exhausted. A crew of 40 was in work when lockdown was imposed by Court order on the hotel, a quarter of the usual workforce. Staff who wish to go to work to help the guests and the hotel will be welcomed but will have to join the quarantine.
Guests are relatively free to move around the hotel but are requested to remain in their rooms as much as possible. Those displaying any sort of symptom are required to self-isolate in their individual accommodation. Medical and other supplies, eg masks, are being administered by designated personnel in a type of hazmat suit. The team of health workers and psychologists is being reinforced to ensure the guests are looked after as well as possible in the circumstances.
Updated 26 February: Sanidad says this morning that they are continuing to work on the four cases of Coronavirus now established in Tenerife. They want to remind the public of advice and recommendations for best practice and self-protection.
They say that Coronavirus COVID-19 is spread by tiny respiratory droplets, and so can be transmitted by talking to someone, let alone being sneezed at. The droplets aren’t good at being airborne so one has to be near someone to catch it from them. It can also be caught through droplets being absorbed through the skin so washing hands frequently is strongly advised, as is avoiding groups of people especially in enclosed locations.
Those who think they might be affected should be aware that symptoms are sweating, sneezing, sore throat, and breathing difficulties, and that in such a case they should not go to hospital or the doctor. They should self-isolate and either ring 112 or the free Sanidad helpline 900 112 061 to speak to the qualified medical personnel who are manning the line BEFORE attending any hospital or health centre. It is a virus so do not self-treat: antibiotics do not work on viruses. Recovery from the resulting viral pneumonia depends entirely on the immune system of the affected person, which is why those already ill or very elderly are more likely to succumb to it.
There will be a press conference shortly to bring today’s information up to date.
Updated 11.30pm: Sanidad confirms tonight that two more of the visitors in the Italian group have tested positive for coronavirus. Their samples will now also be sent to the Carlos III Health Inst for confirmation.
Updated 9pm: The Canarian Government says that the Italian couple who have tested positive in Tenerife arrived here on the 17th of this month. They went straight from the plane to the bus to the hotel along with another group of 10 Italians, none of whom are showing any symptoms presently. Some 100 guests arrived at the hotel yesterday who had no contact with the Italians and who have been allowed to leave; the others are being monitored actively and individually, being in quarantine inside the hotel, but allowed to move freely though any with symptoms are required to remain in their own rooms to be evaluated, and if tested positive, will be removed to hospital.
The couple who have tested positive barely moved around the hotel let alone outside it so the authorities are sure the risk of any spread is very low. The second confirmatory test results for the couple are expected around 11pm tonight. Meanwhile, another case has been confirmed in the Comunidad Valenciana, and that region has now activated its protocol to deal with such outbreaks.
Updated 4pm: The person travelling with the Italian doctor has now also tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19. Again there will be a second confirmatory test. Sanidad says that both patients are in good condition at present, in quarantine in Candelaria Hospital awaiting the second test results from Madrid.
The Canarian Government, the Tenerife Cabildo and Adeje Ayuntamiento have all urged the public to remain calm as all protocols in place are activated, and the risk of contagion remains low. The Public Health authorities have ordered a sanitary control to evaluate all the guests in the same hotel: a team has been sent to the hotel including medical and nursing personnel as well as pyschologists. There will be further official information at 8pm.
Updated 3pm: The Spanish Dept of Industry has said this afternoon that Spain is a secure country with protocols in place for such emergencies as this coronavirus outbreak. Currently there is also a case in Barcelona, also an Italian. Industry Secretary Reyes Maroto said that all information necessary was being provided to the Canarian Government, and all protocols were activated and coordinated nationally as well as regionally.
Maroto said that the tourism sector was being fully assisted so that information was available wherever there was a concourse of tourists including hotels, airports, and other transport hubs. She emphasised that risks were low for contagion, and that all expert advice fed into the protocols which were now activated meant that everything was being done by the book to ensure minimal public health risk.
Meanwhile, we still await the second, confirmatory, test results from the Instituto Carlos III in Madrid on the Italian who has tested positive once. While we wait, all guests in the hotel in which he was himself staying are confined to their rooms, the hotel itself allowing no-one in or out.
Updated 25 February: Adeje Ayuntamiento has this morning called for calm following an Italian tourist staying in the borough testing positive for Coronavirus. A second confirmatory test is being carried out in Madrid with the results expected later today, and until then, all measures taken are precautions while we await the confirmatory result. All the protocols developed by the regional and national Governments are activated and in place, as they were recently in La Gomera, where the outbreak was confined successfully, and everyone affected recovered without the illness spreading.
The hotel association Ashotel says this morning that around 1,000 people have been quarantined in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in El Duque where the Italian holidaymaker was staying. Ashotel pleads with the public to make every effort to avoid the propagation of hoaxes and always to trust only official and officially recognized information sources. The association is in constant contact with the authorities, and collaborating fully to comply strictly with the emergency protocol now in place.
The hotel where the affected tourist was staying is also following the protocol precisely. The situation inside the establishment is said to be normal; all clients are informed of what is happening and give their full cooperation to follow the recommendations established by the authorities. Both Ashotel and other establishments in the south of Tenerife are giving their full cooperation to the hotel concerned so that the services are maintained for the guests.
Throughout the day, there will be further information and official meetings at regional and national levels, and the Canarian Government’s Health Department has convoked its Executive Committee in relation to coronavirus Covid-19 later today. Please remember that there is a free information helpline – 900 112 061 – operated by Sanidad and manned by qualified medical personnel. They are the only ones who can respond factually and correctly to any questions – about the illness, concerns, symptoms, safety, etc. Above all, every single authority begs the public not to rely on any information from any source that is not in possession of the qualified knowledge and understanding that relevant medical professionals have.
Updated 24 February: Canarian President Ángel Víctor Torres has said tonight that Sanidad has activated its protocol for coronavirus after an Italian visitor was confirmed to have the virus. Italy is suffering its own serious outbreak right now, and this tourist is understood to have come to Tenerife only this week from the area in which the outbreak is occurring. President Torres confirmed that the tourist presented himself to a hospital in the south and has since tested positive at Candelaria Hospital where he remains in quarantine. A second test will be carried out tomorrow to confirm the result, as it was with the recent cases in La Gomera with German visitors. If anyone has any concerns or requires any information, Sanidad has set up the free helpline 900 112 061 manned by qualified medical personnel.
Updated 13 February: The Canarian Health Department has confirmed today that the Coronavirus patient in La Gomera’s hospital has now tested negative. It therefore appears that he has recovered fully, and continues to show no symptoms. The tests will be repeated within 24 hours to be confirmed, and if they again show negative, he will be released from hospital.
In the announcement, Sanidad says that the man’s four fellow travellers who remain under house quarantine in Hermigua have now tested negative twice. Their follow-up period ends tomorrow while that of the fifth German who has remained asymptomatic ends today. These actions, Sanidad says, comply with the Health Department’s protocol.
Sanidad also confirms that since the freephone Coronavirus information line (900 112 061) was set up on 2 February, 101 calls have been received. The line remains open for anyone with doubts.
Updated 1 February: Canarian President Ángel Victor Torres has spoken to press this lunchtime and confirmed that only one of the five in quarantine in hospital in La Gomera has tested positive for Coronavirus. President Torres said that the affected individual’s symptoms were light and already showed signs of improvement, and indeed none are of an age where severe complications are to be expected. The four who have tested negative will nonetheless remain in quarantine and will undergo further tests because the incubation period is unclear while a sixth person who was in contact with them has been able to remain under home quarantine at the property in Hermigua where all six German nationals were staying.
For the moment, the public health and security protocols activated will remain in place, and the four who remain in isolation will undergo monitoring and further tests before they are considered safe to be released from hospital. Meanwhile the Health Department is continuing to trace the steps of the six to establish possible contact concerns, and is also compiling information from the passengers on the flight which the six arrived on from Germany. The Government stresses, however, that this was a lightly affected and isolated case with very ittle risk of wider contamination.
The Government has also designated a helpline, staffed by medical personnel, for those who have concerns or need information: just call 900 112 061.
Original post 30 January: Canarian President Ángel Victor Torres has said that Sanidad is studying five people in these islands, two of whom had contact in Germany with a confirmed case of Coronavirus, and three who lived with the pair. At present, the protocol for dealing with such cases has been activated, and the five individuals were transferred yesterday afternoon to a specially-equipped hospital in La Gomera where they remain quarantined in isolation awaiting test results.
Meanwhile the British and Spanish authorities have confirmed a joint operation to return British and Spanish nationals as well as other EU citizens who remain stuck in Wuhan. The Chinese authorities have agreed that their evacuation flight will leave tomorrow morning at 5am, local time.