26th Mar 2020 @ 9:53 am

Pedro Sánchez has succeeded in extending Spain’s lockdown until the 12th April in a vote last night in Congress. Meanwhile, the Canarian President has replaced health councillor Teresa Cruz following criticism of her management.

Although the vote was passed with an ample majority, Sánchez also received harsh criticism from opposition deputies for his management of the crisis. Spain has now overtaken China to become the second-worst affected country in the world after Italy, and there have been widespread complaints about overcrowded hospitals and a lack of vital protective supplies and testing kits.

In the Canaries, the President of the regional government, Ángel Victor Torres yesterday sacked the Canarian health councillor Teresa Cruz, replacing her with Víctor Pérez. It is thought that Torres took the step because Cruz refused to cede power to a Health Emergency Management Committee that had been set up by Torres precisely because of complaints about Cruz’s management.

Cruz had been particularly criticised by health professionals, who have formed 20% of coronavirus victims on the Canaries, almost twice the amount on mainland Spain. Canarian health workers are complaining about the absence of protective equipment, testing kits and emergency accommodation that will prevent them going home and infecting family members.

Tenerife is still the worst-affected island, accounting for almost two-thirds of all Canarian cases so far. Gran Canaria is second, while La Palma’s position in third place, with almost twice as many cases as Lanzarote, is something of a mystery given the island’s relatively small population and lack of a mainstream tourist economy.

Lanzarote so far has registered 19 cases of coronavirus. As one patient has died and another has recovered, 17 cases are classed as active. Six cases are currently in hospital with one of these in intensive care.

*Lockdown amendment: Spain’s Development Ministry has confirmed that lockdown restrictions have been amended to allow passengers to travel in cars, as long as they remains in a separate row and on the opposite side to the driver. For most five-seater cars, this will mean that a single passenger can be carried in the back seat. Larger vehicles may carry one passenger per row.

Car journeys are still only permitted for limited purposes: to go to work; to buy food or medicine, or for certain other “justifiable” reasons. However, passengers must not be taken unless strictly necessary.

Latest statistics: 25th March, 20:00

Increase on previous figures in brackets.

Total Canarian Cases: 784 (+127)

Cases on Lanzarote: 19 (+6)

Deaths (Canaries): 24 (+3)