20th Apr 2020 @ 9:18 am

The Canarian Government’s emergency committee will meet tomorrow to formulate a proposal on how the islands can exit the lockdown, following Pedro Sánchez’s recognition of the need for “different responses” in Spain’s regions.

Addressing the nation on Saturday, Spanish President Pedro Sánchez said “There are people viewing this speech from La Gomera, Teruel or Madrid, and the incidence and impact of the pandemic is different. There will be a global task, but distinct responses and levels in every region.”

Canarian President Ángel Victor Torres responded by announcing that he would convene his government’s emergency committee tomorrow, with the aim of providing proposals for a  “return to normality” on the islands. The initial proposal will be for the whole of the Canaries, but may include measures allowing the least-affected islands to lift lockdown restrictions early.

Torres stressed that the key to finally defeating the coronavirus would be strict controls at airports and ports, and a massive testing programme.  “We’re reaching the endgame,” he said. “Now we need to approach the second phase – the return to normality, knowing that nothing will be exactly the same.”

Different islands, different impacts

The current situation in the Canaries indicates that the smaller, peripheral islands appear to have avoided or  temporarily halted the virus, while medium-sized islands are well on the way to doing so. The two largest islands exhibit the highest risk.  

The least-affected islands are La Graciosa, where there have been no cases of COVID 19: and El Hierro, where, of the four cases recorded, two have recovered and been discharged. La Gomera, the location of Spain’s first cases of COVID 19, has had 10 cases of which 7 have recovered. Neither El Hierro nor La Gomera have registered a new case since 29th March.

Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and La Palma make up the next group of islands which are more seriously affected. None of these medium-sized islands has registered significant amounts of new cases in recent weeks, but while the lockdown appears to be working, it is probably still too early to consider lifting it significantly.

La Palma’s figures are perhaps the most surprising. With a relatively small population  (87,000 compared to  Lanzarote’s 150,000) and no international airport or mass tourism, it has still recorded the third-highest amount of cases and deaths.

The capital islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria are the worst affected, with Tenerife  accounting for almost two-thirds of all Canarian cases and deaths. Almost all of the new cases reported originate on these islands and, although these islands are still nowhere near as badly affected as mainland hotspots such as Madrid and Barcelona,  it is likely that they will remain under the strict lockdown conditions for longest.

Recorded cases on the Canary islands.

(Active cases are in brackets)

Island                          Total cases                   Active cases                Deaths

Tenerife                     1,305                           769                              79

Gran Canaria            525                              217                              31

La Palma                    84                                54                                6

Lanzarote                  79                                43                                3

Fuerteventura          41                                14                                0

La Gomera                10                                3                                  0

El Hierro                    3                                  2                                  0

La Graciosa               0                                  0                                  0

Total                           1,407                           1,102                           119

Latest statistics: 19th April , 20:00

Increase on previous day’s figures in brackets.    

Total Canarian Cases: 2067 (+20)

Cases on Lanzarote: 79 (+0)

Deaths (Canaries): 119 (+0)