Canary Islands President: “If security measures are not kept up in the face of the pandemic, people and the economy will pay for it”
– President Angel Victor Torres announces that in the Canary Islands smoking will be prohibited in public spaces, as soon as the new rules are published in the BOC (Canary Island Official Bulletin) tomorrow
– The head of the regional Executive emphasised that the latest data has forced restrictions on nightlife again and that the elderly and workers in their residences will be screened increasingly
– The Canary Islands government does not foresee a return to confinement in any particular areas, but Torres has warned that such measures may well be extended if the evolving situation demands it
The President of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, has warned this Thursday afternoon, at a press conference following the extraordinary Governing Council meeting held in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, that if residents and visitors to the islands are “not responsible” and observe the COVID-19 security measures devised to cope with the pandemic “the people and the economy will pay” in the Archipelago.
The President announced today that from tomorrow, Friday 14 of August, smoking is prohibited in open public spaces, such as bar terraces, as has already happened in other regions of Spain (such as Galicia). This measure, like the others described today, will take effect from tomorrow when it is published in the Official Gazette of the Canary Islands (BOC) and given that the vast majority of new infections affect people under 30 years of age and are linked to leisure and crowds, there will be more restrictions on nightlife. The Canary Islands Government say they will implement extreme control measures in nursing homes, where PCR tests will be retaken for all users and workers.
Torres explained that the accumulated detection rate of positives over the last 14 days on the islands corresponds 22 individuals for every 100,000 inhabitants, the lowest rate in Spain, while it drops to 18 for the last seven days, just behind Asturias and Extremadura. The president warned that, over the last month, the rate has multiplied by six throughout Spain and, on the Islands, by just three. “A month ago,” he said, “there were only seven infected per 100,000 inhabitants on the Canary Islands, and we want to continue with the good data.”
Torres stressed that the Council convened by him on Tuesday in the face of the worsening figures since last weekend, now 28 active outbreaks, “mostly from social, family and festive or leisure origins, especially on Gran Canaria ”. On this island, 95% of infections have come from leisure activities and occur among young people (the biggest outbreak has occurred in Las Palmas and in an area of three clubs, with 60 infections detected), compared to 85% in Tenerife and other islands.
Among the measures adopted today, the mandatory use of masks in open and closed spaces stands out as a headline measure. Torres indicated that what was today agreed upon will be followed up, if necessary, to reinforce or further increase restrictions or initiatives to fight the coronavirus. The president of the Canary Islands made clear, any activity with crowds will be prohibited. “If you act irresponsibly,” he said, “those who do that are laughing at people’s health and livelihoods. Therefore, we must appeal to personal responsibility. We are enjoying an August in which we can go out, go to the beach, be with family, friends, kiss …, but then there is the real risk that there is coronavirus present and, given its evolution, we must act with the measures we have taken ”.
Faced with questions from the media, Torres pointed out that the Canary Islands were one of the communities that weighted before allowing nightlife. “Leisure was allowed in open spaces and, later, taking reservations and defining tables, indoors, without allowing dancing and having to be controlled. However, now there have been outbreaks and investigations have been opened localities where up to 60 positives have been found. For this reason, we have to go backwards ”, concluded the President of the Canary Islands.
The new Radar Covid application, from next week
The president announced that the Radar Covid tracking application will be active for the entire Canary Islands next week, which will add to the good results that the 200 or so direct or indirect trackers working on the Islands are giving. “On the Canary Islands, this works very well, and this has been recognised by the State and supranational organisations.”
On the prohibition of smoking in open spaces, he said that it had been studied for days, in line with the WHO recommendations, and stressed that all these decisions are intended to help ensure the very best data for the beginning of the school year. In this sense, and regarding the hiring of new teachers, he recalled that, at the request of the Canary Islands, there will be a meeting of all Spanish regions with President Pedro Sánchez to analyse the beginning of the term, although he insisted that their intention “is that it be mostly face-to-face ”. Proposals for hiring teachers will be analysed on a quarterly basis. “It all depends on how the pandemic evolves. If it evolves for the better, this greater separation between students will not be necessary and ratios can be expanded. If it gets worse, Well, we already know that classes had to be suspended in mid-March. The Minister has established different options as the pandemic evolves”.
Asked if they plan to confine any specific places or areas, he made it clear that, for the moment, the Government does not intend to do that, “although that does not mean that it cannot happen if we act irresponsibly. We can have fun naturally without putting others at risk ”, he reiterated.
Torres insisted that it has always been “clear: I have always said that if we had to go back on the re-opening measures, we would do so. The numbers today are overwhelming. Although there are no problems in our medical response, and we only have one person in the ICU, 95% of infections have occurred in people under 30 years of age and most of them are asymptomatic, but they are contagious. Any one of those people can risk lives. The conclusion is that infections are produced by attendance at festive events and that is where they must be stopped” concluded the President.
Source: Canary Islands Government