12th Jan 2021 @ 10:09 am

The director of health services on Lanzarote has said that Lanzarote is now experiencing the “third wave” of the coronavirus and that if it behaves like the second wave “we have three or four weeks to ride it through.

José Luís Aparacio told Radio Lanzarote that health professionals at the hospital had not been certain of a new wave until late last week. “We gave it until Friday to see what was happening, but the worst news was confirmed.”

Commenting on the rise in hospitalisations over the weekend, which saw the number of  Covid patients in the Dr José Molina Orosa Hospital rise from two to sixteen, he said “We have gone from absolute calm to a war footing.” There are 21 beds on the existing Covid ward, and Aparicio confirmed that a second ward was being prepared for the possible saturation caused by the recent increase in cases.

And those cases keep rising – yesterday saw a further 51 new cases diagnosed, bringing the total of active cases on the island to 344. Aparicio confirmed that almost all these cases had been detected by the tracing team, and that most active cases showed an “enormous” number of close contacts. “For each case there are about 30 contacts,” he said.

The health director also explained why the authorities did not issue fuller details of cases, explaining that the health service “never makes judgments”.  “We try to be discreet, so that when we talk to people about possible contacts they don’t try and hide things from us; so that they tell the truth,” he said.

Aparicio also commented that almost all cases on the island were related to family situations, and that there were no cases currently associated with the hotel sector. “We had a hotel case a couple of weeks ago, “ he said “But currently they’re all family or work related.”

In Madrid, meanwhile Spanish health director Fernando Simón has also confirmed the thrid wave and stated that “tough weeks lie ahead”. However, Simón also said that the new “British variant” would only be likely to have a “marginal effect”.

Figures have rocketed all over Spain in the post-Christmas period, and despite its recent increase in cases, the Canaries remains the least-affected region in Spain, with a 14-day infection rate of 151 cases per 100,000 people. Every other region in Spain apart from Asturias (185)  has a 14-day infection rate in excess of the government’s threshold “extreme risk” limit of 250.