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Canary Islands Government announce they want to extend Covid Certificate use to domestic flights, leisure and nightlife

Canary Islands Government announce they want to extend Covid Certificate use to domestic flights, leisure and nightlife

With more than 1,400 new COVID-19 cases reported in the last seven days, the The Canary Islands regional government say they want to regain control of the pandemic before contagions soar again. Following yesterday’s Cabinet meeting they will try to recover some of the containment measures that have been used over the course of the pandemic, including the requirement for COVID certificates from national travellers, coming from other Spanish territories as of 1 December, as well as introducing other measures for the first time, like the requirement to present the certificate in places that present a heightened risk to the public. This looks set to include “closed or crowded spaces, where masks are removed or where safety distances cannot be maintained”, as well as in other festive and leisure environments.

The Deputy Minister of the Canary Islands Presidency, Antonio Olivera, announced the plans yesterday, after the Governing Council meeting, however, he would not enter into more detail to assess exactly which spaces will require this limitation. The Ministry of Health are to be responsible for establishing which places are to be judged of risk, with their assessment expected next week. Other Spanish regional communities, have implemented similar measures in restaurants, at mass events and in entertainment venues.

The tighter restrictions are being put in place in direct response to two key factors: Cases imported from elsewhere and a clear relationship between significantly higher infection rates among those who have not yet received a vaccine.

10% of the coronavirus cases that have been diagnosed in the Canary Islands are imported cases, that is, “they have been infected outside the Islands.” This 10% of newly imported cases is divided fairly equally between Canary Islanders who have been abroad, foreign and domestic travellers, non-EU travellers, some irregular migrants and other unknown cases.

“We have verified that the majority are occurring in the groups with the lowest vaccination rates,” said Olivera.

The decision to now implement the Covid certificate is directly related to the profile of new infections being detected. The most recent infections are concentrated among people between the ages of 20 and 49 years old, the group with the lowest vaccination rates. Among these three groups (20-somethings, 30-somethings & 40-somethings), vaccination rates are less than 70%. The Government wants to encourage, what Olivera remarked on as, this act of “generosity”.

“Vaccination” he insisted “has consequences for the control of the pandemic and the control of the pandemic is directly related to the socioeconomic evolution of the Islands”.

 

While the Government of the Canary Islands continues to seek ways to slowdown infections over the winter, the virus will not be stopping for the holiday season. On Thursday, 275 new cases were recorded in the Archipelago, which is the highest figure since August 21, almost three months ago, a 45% growth in cases compared to the previous week.

The island that is experiencing the greatest increase in cases is Tenerife, where they reported 97 new positives detected (942 active) on Wednesday night, bringing their number of new cases over the last week to 642, which is to say 56% more than the previous week.

Gran Canaria’s infection rate is growing at a slower pace, with 510 new cases over the last week. Despite this, over the last two days the increases have been growing.

It is all about pressure on the hospitals

On June 15, when we had similar numbers of weekly cases and active patients on Tenerife (1,054), but with a much lower percentage of the population vaccinated, the number of hospitalised patients was 151 (134 in the ward and 17 in the ICU) . Today, the number of admissions amounts to 99 (34% less than then), of which 92 are in the ward and only 7 are in the ICU. This represents a good reduction in critically ill patients, from when only 28.4% of the population in the Canary Islands were protected with both doses of vaccine against the coronavirus, today the number of people fully vaccinated is 86.26%.

The non-capital islands are also maintaining an upward trend in infections, with the exception of El Hierro and La Gomera.

However, and despite the fact that incidence indicators are on the rise and are found in all the islands –except for El Hierro– at a minimal medium risk, this increase is not yet being reflected in hospital saturation.

Occupation both on the ward and in the ICU is still currently at low risk, and in the case of Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera, it is at minimal risk on the ward. In total there are 175 people hospitalised, 20% more than last week and 44% more than 15 days ago.

So the real job right now is to try to get on top of the increasing numbers before hospitalisations start to really apply pressure to the health service at a time of year known to already bring increased clinical pressures.

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