1st May 2021 @ 9:24 am

April saw Lanzarote finally recover from the huge spike in cases that occurred post-Christmas and, at the time of writing, the easter holidays appear to have had only a slight effect on the number of active cases on the island. Now, all eyes are on the race to vaccinate and reduce infections for the possible return of tourism.

First published May 1st, 2021 in the May edition of the Gazette.

When assessing Lanzarote’s progress, it’s important to remember that, in January, the island suffered infection rates that were far higher than any that have been registered in the Canaries to date. It also paid the dearest price, with 39 of the 48 Covid deaths on the island occurring this year.

That grim trend has finally stopped, and most importantly, the intensive care unit at the Dr José Molina Orosa Hospital has reduced its occupancy drastically.

In the weeks following Easter, numbers of new cases increased slightly, but remained comfortably within the “medium risk” category that confers Level 2 status. It is hoped that this will continue, but increasing fears of a fourth wave on mainland Spain bring new worries, with Madrid once again causing serious concern.

The Spanish capital’s decision to keep bars and restaurants open has been praised by many in the business sector, but it has come at a price of over 14,000 deaths and twice as many intensive care admissions than any other region in Spain. It remains to be seen if the region’s leader, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, will pay the price at the elections she has called for the 4th of this month.

The threat of a fourth wave makes the race to vaccinate the population more urgent than ever, and the Canaries continues to break new records almost daily in the numbers of people immunised. Nevertheless, problems with supply and decisions to limit use of the AstraZeneca jab mean that the speed of the campaign is not accelerating as planned.

The arrival of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine last month also brought hope, but the vaccine was almost immediately suspended by manufacturers while links with brain embolisms in the USA were investigated.

For the Canaries, controlling the pandemic will be crucial if the islands wish to salvage their summer tourist season. British international travel may resume this month with a new “traffic light” scheme, and the islands will wish to be given the green light as early as possible.

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