20th Sep 2020 @ 8:49 am

Lanzarote has become the third Canary Island to hit a total of 1,000 coronavirus cases since March. However, the total of active cases continues to drop rapidly. 

Lanzarote’s total of precisely 1,000 cases since the first reported infection of a couple of tourists in March makes calculations fairly easy. Of those 1,000 cases, 68.2% have recovered, 31% remain active (with 1.1% in hospital), and 0.8% have died.

What the daily snapshot of figures does not show is how quickly things are changing.  Just one week ago, there were more people on the island classed as active cases than there were people who had ever recovered or died from the virus. This weekend, less than a third of the people who have tested positive for coronavirus on Lanzarote are still active.

This is because, in just one week, 230 people have recovered – i.e., they have tested negative for the virus twice in a period of more than 24 hours and been discharged. In the same period, just 57 people have tested positive and joined the list of active cases.

Other encouraging developments include the discharge of one patient from intensive care, leaving just ten on normal wards and one in a critical state. Hospital admissions due to Covid-19 have rarely risen above a dozen during the second wave.

With 61.4 cases per 100,000 residents over the last 7 days* – (a figure that has been dropping rapidly, as the figure of 144.9 cases over a 14-day period shows), the Canaries is now approaching the 50 per 100,000 threshold that the Robert Koch Institute in German uses as a yardstick to decide quarantine restrictions. 

The UK’s threshold is much lower, at 20 per 100,000 over 7 days, yet six of Lanzarote’s seven municipalities have already fallen well below this level, according to the Canarian Government’s figures. Only Arrecife, with a figure of 92 cases per 100,000, remains a “hot-spot”.

However, there is no guarantee that either the UK or Germany – Lanzarote’s main tourist markets – will give the green light by putting the Canaries on their “safe to travel” lists once they, or individual islands, fall below these thresholds. Both countries are dealing with a steadily increasing second wave themselves, and are likely to be cautious about any moves that could prompt criticism.

There will also be an aspect of “once bitten, twice shy” about the Canarian response. The islands were hit hard by flight cancellations and hotel closures following the British and German decisions, and a further repeat will only damage the reputation of the destination further. This explains why the Canarian government is still strongly in favour of testing tourists on arrival and before departure.

*This figure was provided by the Spanish Health Ministry on 18th September. Canarias7 newspaper reports today that the Canarian rate has fallen to 49.4 and the Lanzarote rate to 27.5, although sources for these figures cannot be found.