The first case of Coronavirus in Spain was reported in the Canaries last month, followed a fortnight later by a British resident on Mallorca testing positive for the illness.
When six German tourists stepped off the ferry from Tenerife to La Gomera on 28th January they were looking forward to a walking holiday in the island’s spectacular Garajonay National Park, not an extended stay in hospital.
However, the next day German authorities informed Spain that one of the tourists had been in contact with another German citizen who had caught coronavirus after attending a business talk given by a Chinese woman. This woman had met her parents from Wuhan, the source of the virus, shortly before flying to Germany.
Five of the Germans who displayed mild symptoms such as coughing were quarantined in La Gomera’s hospital, and one of them was later reported as testing positive. No specific treatment has been given to the patient, as there is no remedy for coronavirus, but anyone he contacted has been tested. Finally, the patient was given the all-clear and discharged. No new cases have been reported in the Canaries to date.
Spain’s second case was reported on 9th February, and was a British expat who had just spent a skiing holiday in France where he been in close contact with another Briton who contracted the virus on a trip to Singapore.
The Canarian government has issued a message urging islanders to remain calm and has set up a free information line on (900 112 061).
At the time of writing, more than 80,000 cases of coronavirus have been reported, most in China. 2,250 people have died of the illness.
This is more than were killed by the SARS outbreak in 2003, but the coronavirus has a far lower fatality rate than that illness, at 2.1%. The problem is that, although the coronavirus is not as deadly as SARS, it appears to be far more infectious.
Initial analysis suggests that older people are most at risk, with relatively few child victims reported so far.