The Canarian Health Service has launched a shocking new video that warns islanders not to let their guard down against coronavirus at family reunions.

Titled “The Last Gift”, the video shows a birthday party for a grandfather with family members arriving, removing their masks, kissing, hugging, sharing a drink, singing and blowing out candles. The twist arrives when abuelo opens the final gift, which contains a hospital ventilator. The video cuts to an image of him lying helpless in a hospital bed, accompanied by the warning “A simple family reunion could bring you the gift of 40 days in a coma or even death.”

The video ends with the message “Enjoy your family, always observing safety measures against Covid-19”  

The campaign is another attempt to control outbreaks related to family gatherings, such as the recent outbreak of a dozen cases on Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria. These reunions, and other types of gatherings, are the main concern of Spain’s authorities after an alarming recent increase in new infections

Spain’s health ministry warned yesterday that “the outbreaks related to leisure, discos, large parties and gatherings of family and friends are increasing. They are of a serious magnitude, in some cases involving more than 100 people,” and called for “everyone to take responsibility” for limiting the spread, especially young people.

No mask law yet

Nevertheless, the Canaries is still performing significantly better than many other communities on the mainland. For that reason, the government has repeated that compulsory mask-wearing laws will not be introduced until they are deemed necessary.

The vice-councillor of the Canarian Presidency, Antonio Olivera, yesterday said that the epidemiological situation on the islands would dictate the use of masks and that, currently, the government did not think the circumstances existed to introduce stricter measures.

Olivera reminded the public that increased checks were being carried out by the police in leisure establishments and tourist resorts, and that the Canarian subinspector of police had informed him that 95% of establishments complied fully with the rules, while 5% required “intervention or correction.” The message to bar and restaurant owners is clear – now is not the time to take risks.