With a sudden spike in new corona virus cases on the mainland over the last week, there are growing indications this week that the Government of the Canary Islands Ministry of Health are going to approve new measures, to reinforce the mandatory use of masks in various places, where members of the public are likely to come into contact with each other, following reports this Monday of their communications with Spain’s Inter-territorial Health Council. We expect to know more by the end of this week.
The Canary Islands General Directorate of Public Health have already been working on proposals specific to the situation on the islands, where we have consistently had some of the lowest infection rates in the country and across Europe. Cases however have been slowly increasing again in various parts of peninsular mainland Spain and, following a sudden spike last week, decisions are now being made to try to ensure we do not return to the situation of just two months ago when the entire country was in a State of Emergency “lockdown”, inflicting huge economic damage, during what is traditionally one of the busiest times of year, particularly for the Tourism and Hospitality sector.
Steady as she goes. This is not the time to rush forward. Careful hands, and easy motion.
These sub-tropical Canary Isles may just well enough be able to afford a more gradual return to business for the sake of longer term security. Unlike mainland Spain, tourism here is all year round, and having kept the population largely uninfected throughout the pandemic, the last thing that anyone wants is to reverse all that good work and send the archipelago back to not knowing if and when businesses can re-open. We have only just embarked on the journey of learning to deal with the pandemic while re-activating our economy. We need to keep it together. Eyes on the horizon.
Move too quickly and we could find ourselves in the very same boat as the rest of Spain. We could find ourselves adrift!
The head of the Canary Islands Health Department, Blas Trujillo, is expected to present proposals to the Governing Council this Thursday.
The Ministry of Health for the Canary Islands has emphasised that the use of masks is already mandatory at this time, although there have been a number of exceptions, which are being assessed and could be reconsidered.
At the Inter-territorial Council, Trujillo has once again strongly reiterated to the Spanish Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, the Canary Islands Government’s longstanding calls for corona virus tests at airports, selectively and on particular flights of potential epidemiological risk, pointing out that France has just implemented similar measures. Canary Islands Government sources say that Illa has promised to study the measures adopted by the neighbouring country, to assess whether it is appropriate to apply them in Spain.
At the meeting, the various councillors exchanged data on the outbreaks most recently declared in Spain, following a large increase last week that has left several mainland municipalities returning to various levels of local “lockdown”.
For statistical purposes, the Canary Islands are currently computed as having seen three, relatively minor outbreaks, after two boats arrived at Fuerteventura from El Aaiún in June, carrying some thirty confirmed cases of COVID-19 which remain active, and a third boat, which arrived on Lanzarote, carrying five more confirmed infections.
However, epidemiologists from the Government of the Canary Islands have been very clear that they do not consider these as “risk outbreaks”, primarily because all those involved were quickly diagnosed, isolated and placed under quarantine supervision from the very moment they landed on the islands.
Over the last 7 days, the Canary Islands as a whole have detected a very small number of confirmed new cases of COVID-19: 4 on Tenerife, 4 on Gran Canaria, 6 on Lanzarote, 2 on Fuerteventura bringing the number of current active cases to 81, all of which are in isolation either at home or specially provided quarantine accommodation, except 2 being monitored in the ICU, according to the Canary Islands Government Ministry of Health.
The total number of confirmed cases detected since the beginning of the pandemic now stands at 2,467, of which 2,224 have completely recovered and been discharged, with no COVID related deaths anywhere on the islands for more than a month, following the 162 who have died prior to that.
On Fuerteventura there are 32 active cases; On Tenerife, 28; on Gran Canaria, 14; and on Lanzarote, 6, according to the latest official Ministry of Health data. A very limited number of foreigners without an administrative address here in The Canary Islands may not be accounted for in these numbers.