Department of Health confirms eight positives for Covid-19 in the Canary Islands

9 March 2020

Statement from the Government of the Canary Islands 5th March

Department of Health confirms eight positives for Covid-19 in the Canary Islands

• At the time of issue of this press release, the Canarian Department of Health has confirmed eight positives for coronavirus Covid-19 in the Canary Islands. Six belong to the same group of Italian guests at a south Tenerife hotel, while the other two are an Italian living in La Laguna and a woman in Agüimes (Gran Canaria).

• The new positives in Tenerife are a female close contact of the group of Italians who were staying at the hotel in the south of the island and who remain in isolation in hospital, and an Italian resident of La Laguna who is currently isolated in his home. The Gran Canaria positive is an Italian tourist.

• The departure operation for guests of the Tenerife hotel continues and by 6pm today a total of 443 had left – half the number of guests in the hotel when the health measures were first imposed.

The Department of Health has reported two new positives for coronavirus COVID-19, one in Tenerife and the other in Gran Canaria. The first is a close contact of the group of Italians who remain in isolation in hospital, while the Gran Canaria case is a woman holidaymaker, also from Italy, who had presented symptoms but is now symptom-free. The woman is currently isolated in her accommodation, as required by the protocol.

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The Department of Health has also identified a further case in Tenerife this evening. The person is an Italian resident of La Laguna who travelled to his country recently and has now been placed in home isolation. In all cases, an epidemiological study of close and direct contacts of the positives is underway.

The remaining positives (five) in the Canaries are part of the Italian group who have been hospitalised and isolated in Tenerife. Two people have been released from hospital in recent days: a British woman who was also staying at the hotel used by the first group of Italians, and a woman from La Gomera and caught the virus on a trip to Italy. All the cases in the Canaries are imported.

Meanwhile, the departure operation established for guests at the south Tenerife hotel continues and by 6pm today 443 people who fulfilled the three requirements established by the Spanish Ministry of Health had been allowed to leave. The requirements are that they must be free of symptoms, have tested negative for coronavirus less than 24 hours before leaving, and their country must arrange their return and ensure continued monitoring of their health on arrival.

Canarian Health Minister Teresa Cruz yesterday reached an agreement with the Official Colleges of Doctors, Nurses and Pharmacists in the provinces of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife on restrictions on members travelling to or taking part in scientific meetings in risk areas or with persons from these areas in the coming months. Meanwhile, the Canarian Health Service has informed all staff of the need to limit meetings and events in an effort to contain the virus and prevent it from spreading among health care personnel. The instructions do not include routine activities.

Information numbers
The Canarian Department of Health has set up a free telephone number (900 112 061) staffed by a team of nurses coordinated by the Canary Islands’ Emergency Services (SUC) to deal with requests from the general public for information on prevention measures and contagion possibilities and to clarify misconceptions relating to the virus.

The public are reminded that it is important that anyone who feels they might have coronavirus-related symptoms (coughing, sore throat, fever, shortness of breath) and who has travelled from a risk zone in the last 14 days, or may have had contact with someone from a risk zone, should phone 112. They should not go directly to a health centre or hospital A&E. The phone number will be used to arrange home testing if required.

However, the public are urged to make rational use of the facility and only if they meet the aforementioned conditions.

A total of 2305 calls have been received since the services were put in place. The telephone information number has dealt with 1853 calls and the 112 number 452 calls on coronavirus-related matters.