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:

Andalusía 12
Asturias 1
Balearics 2
Canaries 7
Cantabria 10
Castile and León 3
Castile-La Mancha 3
Catalonia 15
C. Valenciana 15
Extremadura 6
Madrid 29
Navarra 1
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
14 Madrid
12 Andalusia
6 Canarias
9 Catalonia
4 Extremadura
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.