The 61-year-old Italian woman, who last Thursday became the first person to be confirmed to have been infected by SARS COV2 here on Gran Canaria, had been sharing a holiday home in the south-eastern port town of Arinaga. Her travelling companions have now also tested positive for the virus, which causes the Covid19 respiratory disease.

The Canary Islands Regional Government’s Ministry of Health has confirmed the new cases, emphasising that the new patients are all in home isolation, at their holiday rental accommodation, as per the active protocols, and that they remain in “good health”.

The number of infected already confirmed in the Archipelago now amounts to more than 20. Tenerife also confirmed three new cases on Friday, two in La Laguna and another in the capital, Santa Cruz.

The four Italian women had landed on Gran Canaria back on February 27, to visit the son of the 61-year-old, who is in the Canary Islands to improve his Spanish. The group of women had planned to return to Italy last Thursday, on a flight back to Milan. However, that afternoon the mother, who had only noticed very minor symptoms, was positively diagnosed as a carrier of the SARS-COV2 virus, the cause of the respiratory disease Covid19 currently sweeping the globe. Her three friends, it seems in a bid to try to get home, had headed straight to the airport.

Isolation Operation

When the authorities were made aware that the women planned to get on a Ryanair flight back to Italy, security protocols were activated and notice given to the Guardia Civil and the National Police to urgently locate the women and ensure they were being tested, they caught up with them literally minutes before they were due to board the plane.

Since the arrival of the Wuhan outbreak to Gran Canaria, there have not yet been any more discovered, however the first confirmed first case on the island of Fuerteventura has been reported, as well as three new cases on the island of Tenerife. Throughout the Canary Islands archipelago as a whole, up until today, there are at least 18 active cases of Covid19. Add to this figure the three discharged over the weekend by the Health Department on Tenerife, we have had a total of 21 cases thus far confirmed in the Canary Islands since the very first case on La Gomera last January 30, a German who had been travelling with his group of friends who became the first case of corona virus case detected in Spain. 

To date there are now nearly 400 hundred confirmed cases across Spain, with many more expected in the days and weeks ahead.  The first deaths have also been reported, and a raft of precautions are now being implemented around airports and public spaces. A public health campaign is urging people to self isolate if they have any reason to suspect they may be affected. It is a good idea to avoid any large social gatherings, and make preparations for avoiding people in general whenever possible.

Most of the nearly-1000 people who had been quarantined in a Tenerife Hotel for 10 days, causing world wide headlines, have now been allowed to go home.

The Canary Islands president, Ángel Víctor Torres, has said that currently, his administration are being “very cautious”, the cases of corona virus in the Archipelago were “all” imported.

“Until this moment, we have been very cautious, because they are still analysing all the cases we have had in the Canary Islands, which are all imported, having arrived from abroad, and so we all know what the origin of each contagion is” he claimed.

Regarding the cases in tourists, Torres considered that “it is very important” because the origin is known, another different issue, he clarified, is what might happen in communities where “they” are not sure where the contagion comes from, which is “more worrisome “.

In any case, he stressed that the Canarian Government is responding with “a demanding protocol, which is so far a success, ensuring the islands will have few cases.”

He urged people to continue “trusting in the health department, that protocols are put in place immediately” and that he will continue to be “demanding”. He went on to justify the urgent operation mounted on Thursday afternoon, when Guardia Civil agents scrambled to locate, isolate and hold the Italian tourists at Gran Canaria airport, just moments before they could board their flight.


Meanwhile, the 61 year old Italian tourist was hospitalised yesterday afternoon following a worsening of her symptoms, she has had chest X-rays, among other diagnostic control tests, as she suffers from hypertension and presented fluid retention problems, specifically urinary.

Although the Health Ministry report it is not a serious situation, the patient was hospitalised in keeping with the active protocol measures, given that the isolation situation applies exclusively to cases of asymptomatic diagnoses or mild symptoms, but anything more serious they want to monitor more closely in a medical setting.

The space at the Maternity Hospital, at the Las Palmas Insular Hospital, where the Italian patient is now being treated, was originally set up as a precautionary measure during the global Ebola crisis, so that they could treat possible cases on Gran Canaria.

Her three friends, with whom she shared a holiday home, and who also tested positive for the virus on Friday, remain quarantined within the Vivienda Vacacional, in the Agüimes coastal town of Arinaga and are reported to still be “in a good condition of health”.

The prognosis for that first Italian woman diagnosed on Gran Canaria remains in question while test results are awaited that may help doctors to understand more about the progression of the illness, as when diagnosed the woman had presented no clear symptoms and once detected was kept isolated inside the Arinaga holiday home, while her three friends were intercepted at the airport trying to return to their country.

The Canary Guide

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