Lanzarote recorded 121 new cases of Covid-19 yesterday, by far the largest daily total since the pandemic began. This brings the total of active cases on the island to 521, 58 short of the island’s peak of 579 cases that was reached on the 11th September last year.
That peak was immediately followed by large amounts of patient discharges, and totals swiftly fell afterwards. However, there is no evidence of that happening yet with the third wave, which is still rising alarmingly.
After weeks of priding itself on keeping its 7-day infection rate below 50, Lanzarote’s now stands at 280 cases per 100,000 people; more than twice as high as any other island, and more than four times that of Tenerife, which has been the worst-affected island until recently.
Information from the Canarian Health Service confirms the theory that the increase in new cases is closely related to family gatherings over the Christmas holidays. Lanzarote has recorded 18 outbreaks, including one that occurred in a work/social/family situation, with 24 affected. Over half of the outbreaks recorded on the Canaries in the last week took place in family settings, and the majority of them involved family members who did not live in the same home – clearly signalling family get-togethers.
Further evidence that Christmas gatherings have caused many of the infections was provided by Aniuska Sutil, Lanzarote’s Primary care Director, who told Radio Lanzarote that tracers were currently having to track 15 to 30 close contacts for each positive test, instead of the 5 to 10 that was the average in late summer.
Meanwhile, there is no evidence to support the frequently-stated theory that the new rise in cases was caused by tourists, whether from the UK, Ireland, other European countries or the Spanish mainland. Throughout the pandemic, tourists have represented a tiny proportion of overall cases on the Canaries. The main problems here, as in so many other countries, are family gatherings, parties, enclosed workspaces and the high-risk environment of care homes and hospitals;
Later today, the Canarian Government will almost certainly decide to raise Lanzarote from level 2 to the maximum risk Level 3 of anti-Covid measures. We’ll update you on the new restrictions tomorrow.