Updated 26 January: The Canarian Government has said that “49 samples of the British variant have been detected out of 7,239 positives tested”. The strain, more infectious and possibly more lethal, was identified through Candelaria Hospital’s Microbiology Service in conjunction with the Genomics Area of the Institute of Technology and Renewable Energies.
The Government says that the genome sequencing technology, already tested successfully, allowed for 100 samples of nasopharyngeal exudate from covid patients collected between 18 December and 18 January, in whom the presence of any of the known variants of the virus was suspected, especially the B.1.1.7 or British variant. The results obtained showed that none of the samples corresponded to the so-called South African or Brazilian variants, but the British variant was identified in 49 samples out of 7,239 which tested positive, approximately 0.67% of the total number of cases detected in the Canary Islands in that period of time.
Of these 49 samples, four were from Lanzarote and 34 from Tenerife, though our island’s figures include the cases linked to the December outbreak in La Palma. Two are confirmed to be from UK nationals while a further seven are still being traced. Sequencing work continues with all suspected samples.
Sanidad (Canarias) says that the British variant of SARS-CoV-2 has already been found in other Spanish regions such as Madrid, Andalusia, Valencia, Navarra and Galicia, among others. The measures to contain this variant of the coronavirus are the same as for the other variants but with greater care because of its increased transmissibility: masks, hand hygiene, interpersonal distance, limiting the number of people with whom we interact, choosing fresh air or well-ventilated spaces whenever possible, staying at home if you have symptoms or are awaiting the results of a diagnostic test or have had contact with a person with COVID-19.
Updated 28 December 2020 (Janet): It occurs to me that the negative reaction to Mencey’s post and the clearly triggered outrage at the description of the covid variant as the “British strain” is perhaps because most readers who are annoyed don’t much read the foreign press. This is the way the variant is seen, throughout Europe, and named by everyone in scientific and media circles. It is like “the Japanese variant” or “the South African variant”, neither of which have yet been discovered in Spain but if and when they are, they will be described as such without expectation that Japanese or South African nationals will join the offenderati and be up in arms at the description. Here, today, for your information, is Diario de Avisos reporting on “the British variant” – you will note that their article is from the news agency Europa Press, so this is the nomenclature that all media outlets, including In Tenerife, receive from Government, think tanks, science organizations, and anyone else they get press releases or information from. Before anyone gets triggered about anything, it’s never a bad idea to check how an issue is seen beyond the confines of one’s own immediate closed circle.
Original post (Mencey) 26 December: Madrid has reported four cases of the new British strain of Covid in travellers who arrived in the capital from the UK before a ban on arrivals came into place. Obviously this does not concern Tenerife directly, but there have been so many attempts at complaining on this site by people incensed at the closure of Tenerife borders for tourists from the UK that this report highlights the risks involved in travelling during a pandemic.