Category: Health

Latest Gran Canaria News, Views & Sunshine

Mogán town council assumes direct management of services on Playa de Mogán

The Mogán Local Council on Friday installed new sun beds and umbrellas on Playa de Mogán, beginning direct management of seasonal services of this popular beach, along with the other six beaches for which it now holds corresponding authorisations: Las Marañuelas, Costa Alegre, Taurito, El Cura, Aquamarina and Patalavaca. Since last summer they have also been in control of direct exploitation of  Puerto Rico and El Perchel beaches.  The majority of these coastal tourism enclaves were managed by private companies who held the concessions, some of which had been in place for decades. 

The Canary Guide #WeekendTips 27-29 January 2023

Tenteniguada Almond Blossom Festival
It’s the last weekend of January and exactly two weeks to go until the 2023 Carnival season starts on Gran Canaria. This weekend will most probably be enjoyed with a drop of wet weather, Sunday being forecast as the rainiest. The southern tourist enclaves look to also see a bit of cloud cover and even a small chance of seeing a few drops of rain. However you look at it, it may be handy to have umbrellas and raincoats around during the days to come. There is even the possibility of some snow on the mountains as we head into next week.

More than half of all Canary Islands properties sold last year were bought by foreigners, more than half of those non-residents

While we still await final figures for the last quarter of 2022, the latest official data from The Canary Islands has shown foreigners are buying more homes in the Canary Islands than ever before. The number of real estate acquisitions by non-residents in the Canary Islands has risen 52% compared to the same period in 2021, and is already 16% higher than the highest ever record set in 2017.


Gran Canaria confirms a monkeypox case and reports five new ones under study

The result of the samples from the second reported case is still pending. This Monday, samples of five more people have been sent to the National Centre for Microbiology, of which three have been classified as probable, because they meet clinical and epidemiological criteria, and two as suspected because they meet only clinical criteria. None appear severely affected
The Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, after receiving results on the first case in the Canary Islands reported to the Centre for the Coordination of Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health, last week, has confirmed the presence of monkeypox. The second case reported last Friday, on Tenerife, is still awaiting results of the sample that is being analysed in coordination with the National Centre for Microbiology.
The first two cases notified last week continue to develop favourably, monitored in isolation at home.
The protocol of the Ministry of Health classifies cases between probable and suspected depending on whether the patient presents only compatible symptoms (clinical criteria) or if they also meet epidemiological and laboratory criteria.

Probable cases: clinical and epidemiological criteria
The Canary Islands reported three other probable cases this Monday, all on Gran Canaria, corresponding to three young men whose symptoms are evolving favourably, following the process at home, except for one who has been admitted, based on another pathology.
According to the protocol, one meets clinical and epidemiological criteria established as a probable case, but is awaiting results of the analysis of the laboratory samples.
Suspected cases: clinical criteria
The General Directorate of Public Health and the SCS have also reported two possible cases having presented symptoms compatible only with clinical criteria, but not epidemiological or laboratory criteria, as stated in the protocol established by the Spanish Ministry of Health.
All these cases, whether confirmed, suspected or probable, have been reported to the Ministry of Health on Monday, as indicated by the protocols.
Monkeypox infection is a rare disease that causes fever, headache, swollen glands and rashes on the hands and face, similar to that caused by Chickenpox.  It is a well known pathogen, though very unusual, particularly outside of west and central Africa.
The virus has a low capacity for human-to-human transmission which would require close, intimate contact. The incubation period ranges from 5 to 13 days, although it can sometimes be as long as 21 days.
On May 15, the United Kingdom declared a health alert to the World Health Organisation, in accordance with international health regulations, after detecting the first four cases in Europe. This alert activated existing protocols in all health centres, including the Canary Islands Health Service, with the aim of early detection of possible cases.

131 cases so far confirmed and registered by WHO
 The cases of monkeypox confirmed in recent days and weeks in non-endemic countries now rise to 131, with another 106 suspected, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported this Tuesday, indicating that the countries which have reported the most infections are Spain (40, at least one in the Canary Islands), Portugal (37) and the United Kingdom (20).
Cases have been confirmed so far in 17 countries, mostly European, although infections have also been identified in Pakistan (2), Israel (1), Canada (5), the US (2) and Australia (2) , the WHO announced during a technical session of the current annual assembly of the organisation.
The disease has been endemic for at least 40 years in West and Central African countries, and although cases had previously been reported in other regions, usually always linked to people who had traveled to the African continent, this is the first time that we have observed any such widespread an outbreak.
With the vast majority of cases having been linked to gay and/or bisexual men, the first time that sexual contact has been seen as a vector, caution is being widely advised, particularly for those who may have had close contact at the recent Pride events organised in Maspalomas.  Community organisations, business owners and the local town hall are working with the regional Ministry of Health and the Spanish authorities to establish if extra safety guidelines need to be published, for the benefit of anyone who may have come into contact with potential infections.  The focus is to break any chain of transmission that may have been present during the mass event attended by upwards of 25,000 people.
There is not thought to be any wider danger to the general population.  Simple caution is advised.
Pride organisers silent as Ministry of Health investigates “probable” link to monkeypox in Maspalomas



Canarian Health service ‘Sanidad’ invests €654,700 in the new Playa de Mogán Local Clinic

The Primary Health Care Management of ​​Gran Canaria, part of The Canary Islands Ministry of Health, have launched the new Local Playa de Mogán Health Centre (Centro de Salud), infrastructure which involved a total investment of €654,717.

The new centro de salud, includes two Family Care Units (Unidades de Atención Familiar (UAF)), two doctors and two nurses who attend consultations and will attend to the population of the municipality  mornings and afternoons.
In addition, there is a Paediatric consultation unit, made up of a paediatrician and a paediatric nurse, who consult every Tuesday and Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and a social worker who attends to the population on Mondays between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. A nursing assistant and an administrative assistant are also part of the staff in this much needed new centre.
Reference population
The new Playa de Mogán Local Clinic serves a resident population of 1,842 patients, all of whom have an individual health card, and is part of the Mogán Special Health Zone, which also includes the Arguineguín Health Centre and the Pueblo de Mogán Local Clinics, Veneguera, Soria, Barranquillo Andrés and Cercados de Espino.


Spain removes the mandatory masks almost everywhere, but still required on all public transport

The Government of Spain, as expected, have announced that face masks will no longer be compulsory as of Wednesday, 20 April 2022, albeit with some exceptions. Royal Decree 286/2022, of April 19, was published in the State Gazette (BOE) and modifies the guidance on mandatory use of masks, put in place during the health crisis caused by COVID-19.

The Council of Ministers approved the end of mandatory face masks indoors from 20 April.  Minister for Health, Carolina Darias, argued that the high rates of vaccination against COVID-19 and the epidemiological situation in Spain have allowed this measure to be adopted. So far, 92% of the population – 39 million people – have been fully vaccinated, which has led to a decline in the disease and most of the national territory is now at low risk levels. Carolina Darias clarified that masks will not be compulsory in school settings. In the work environment, in general, they will not be either. However, those responsible for the prevention of occupational hazards, and in accordance with the corresponding risk assessments in the workplace, may establish appropriate preventive measures they deem necessary, including the continued use of masks.  Such advice is legally binding.
At large events, such as sporting competitions or concerts, held both indoors and outdoors, it is not mandatory to wear a face mask. With regard to the continuity of capacity limitations, the minister indicated that this is the responsibility of the regional governments.


Exceptions to the removal of masks
Darias specified that masks will continue to be obligatory in certain contexts, such as in health centres, health services and establishments, hospitals, healthcare or transfusion centres, pharmacies – both for the people who work there and for visitors. They will also be required in care homes and nursing homes for employees and visitors, but not for residents.
The obligation is also maintained for air, rail, bus and ship transport when the 1.5 metre safety distance cannot be maintained. At access to stations or on platforms, masks shall not be compulsory.
The Health Minister stated that the Executive recommends the responsible use of masks among vulnerable populations, such as those over 60 years of age, immunocompromised people, people at risk of diseases or pregnant women.
The Ministry has also advised use by teachers or students who are vulnerable, at large events, in crowds and at family or private celebrations when a vulnerable person is in attendance.
The minister stated that the measure adopted today is a strategic response to the current epidemiological situation and upon the almost unanimous proposal of the members of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System, which met in Toledo on 6 April.

Basic Do’s and Don’t for masks:-You need to use them in health services and establishments, such as hospitals, health centres or pharmacies; workers and visitors.-You need to use mask in socio-health centres, like nursing homes; workers and visitors.-You need to use them in airplanes, and on buses. Also on all public passenger transport, but not on platforms and stations.-In the work environment, in general, the use of masks will not be mandatory. 


The Ministry of Health eliminates the mandatory use of masks in educational centres. Its use is allowed for those who decide to continue using them or who are in situations of vulnerability that are advised to.
After the approval in the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, April 19, modification to the use of masks in interior spaces at the request of the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education, Universities, Culture and Sports of the Government of the Canary Islands have informed educational centres of the application of this measure in the educational field on the islands, which after its publication in the BOE comes into force this Wednesday. In any case, those who prefer to continue using masks or who are in situations of vulnerability advised to do so will be allowed to continue using masks.
The adoption of this decision by the Ministry of Health occurs because although the pandemic continues to exist, its current characteristics have nothing to do with its start due to the current high vaccination coverage.In this way, the use of masks is no longer compulsory in general in the educational field of the archipelago, and the centres will pay special attention to the prevention of any stigmatisation of people who choose to maintain their use in non-compulsory situations, promoting respect for diversity.
Those who present vulnerability factors should continue to make responsible use of masks, both in the case of students and in that of teaching staff and administration and services. Persons six years of age and older must continue to wear masks on school transport.
In Special Education Centres (CEE) with school residence considered as social health centres, the use of FFP2 masks by working personnel is still mandatory. In the Canary Islands they are the CEE and the Siete Palmas School Residence, the El Dorador CEE and the San Miguel School Residence and the CEE and the Hermano Pedro School Residence.


Maspalomas town hall transfers land to the Ministry of Health to expand the San Fernando Health Centre

The Municipal Council of San Bartolomé de Tirajana has announced the transfer of a plot of land to the Government of the Canary Islands for the expansion of the San Fernando de Maspalomas Health Centre. The plot is attached to that of the current health centre. Mayor, Conchi Narváez, highlighted the need to strengthen the municipality’s primary care network, “above all because we are aware of the population increase in the municipality over recent years, the trajectory of the age curve of our residents and population growth.”

Narváez also reviewed the Covid-19 crisis, “a circumstance that has multiplied the demand for health care by all segments of the population, from paediatrics, to adults and the elderly. I am convinced that we will obtain, as ever, a positive response from the Ministry”.
The Consistory addressed the Autonomous Ministry of Health, through an official letter, in which argued for the new health centre, which currently occupies an area of ​​7,244 m², a “space that is estimated to be insufficient for the projections for the population demand of residents, workers and visitors, to which are added the population’s aging parameters in the municipality”, explained Councilor for Health, Clara Martel.
Precisely, within the framework of collaboration between institutions, the municipal corporation makes the necessary area available to the Ministry of Health of the Government of the Canary Islands, “by mutual agreement, and with the transfer of the relevant municipally owned land, in order to proceed to the expansion of the health facilities of the current health centre of San Fernando de Maspalomas”.
The proposed plot, located in Campo Internacional, is classified as urban land by the current General Plan for Urban Planning (PGOU 96) and the use proposed for it is that of Welfare Sanitary, a use compatible with the PGOU’96 regulations.


All the islands maintain their current health alert levels, though infections rise slightly

Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro remain at level 3; and Fuerteventura and Lanzarote at level 2. The daily average of conventional hospital beds occupied by covid patients throughout the Archipelago as a whole has decreased by 18.4% compared to the previous week and that of ICU beds decreased by 12%.


The Canary Islands Ministry of Health on Thursday, March 17, updated health alert levels, following this week’s epidemiological report from the General Directorate of Public Health, with consolidated data as of March 16. The report on the evolution of health indicators for COVID-19 on all the islands decides the appropriate alert levels for each.
Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro remain at alert level 3; and Fuerteventura and Lanzarote (where La Graciosa is included epidemiologically) at level 2. All with greatly reduced measures and few restrictions now in place on hospitality businesses.
The epidemiological situation of each territory is based fundamentally on hospital pressure (bed occupancy indicators now being the determining factor for analysing the trends and severity of COVID-19) and the incidence on the transmission of the coronavirus, according to the modifications established within the Inter-territorial Council.
Healthcare indicators
Care indicators show a favourable evolution and the daily average number of occupied conventional hospital beds has decreased by 18.3% compared to the previous week, with an average occupancy rate of 5%, this indicator remains at medium risk. The percentage occupation in Gran Canaria, Tenerife, La Palma and La Gomera are all at medium risk; Fuerteventura is at low risk and Lanzarote and El Hierro are at very low risk. The number of occupied ICU beds continues with the downward trend, falling 12% compared to the previous evaluation. ICU occupation for the whole of the Archipelago is 9.7%. Tenerife and Gran Canaria are at medium risk, while the rest of the islands remain in controlled circulation.
Epidemiological indicators
In the Regional Autonomous Community as a whole, between March 8 and 14, saw 9,162 new cases of COVID-19 reported, representing a 3.3% increase in the daily average of new cases in relation to the previous week. These data respond to a 3.3% increase in Accumulated Incidence (AI) at 7 days throughout the Canary Islands. From a weekly average of 407.4 cases per 100,000 population, this figure rose to 421.1 cases per 100,000 this week.
All the islands remain at very high risk for this indicator, except Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, which are at a medium and high risk, respectively. The island that has risen the most in this indicator is Tenerife, followed by La Gomera.
The 7-day AI for people over 65 years of age has risen to 29%, the Autonomous Community as a whole, and all the islands, are at very high risk in this indicator. The greatest increase is observed on the island of La Palma, followed by La Gomera.
The 14-day AI fell by 3.7%, although the level of risk is still very high for the whole of the Archipelago.


Gran Canaria goes to alert level 3 due to the improvement of its epidemiological indicators

Tenerife, La Palma, Fuerteventura, La Gomera and El Hierro continue at Level 3; and Lanzarote, at Level 2
The daily average occupation of conventional hospital beds in the Archipelago as a whole has decreased by 26% compared to last week and ICU beds occupied by covid patients has fallen by 14%


The Ministry of Health has today updated the health alert levels following this week’s epidemiological report from the General Directorate of Public Health with consolidated data as of March 2.
The change in level for Gran Canaria will come into force at 00:00 this Friday, March 4
In the COVID-19 report health indicators allow Gran Canaria to drop to Alert Level 3, having improved in epidemiological indicators.
The rest of the islands maintain their current Alert Levels, Tenerife, La Palma, Fuerteventura, El Hierro and La Gomera maintain Level 3; and Lanzarote (where La Graciosa is epidemiologically included) Level 2.
Gran Canaria has been enabled to move to Level 3 due improvements in care impact indicators over the last 14 days, with hospital occupancy on the wards in the last two weeks going from a high risk to a medium risk, while occupancy of beds in the ICUs also decreased to medium risk.
However, the evolution of the indicators will be closely observed due to a slight upward trend in the 7day AI this week, which has an impact on the care capacity indicators. The level change will take effect at 00:00 this Friday, February 4 (on the night of Thursday to Friday).
The evolution of the epidemiological indicators on the rest of the islands have still not yet presented sufficient stability in the the data to propose further decreases in levels, just yet.
Health alert levels are determined by the Ministry of Health based on the epidemiological and healthcare indicators that are collected weekly; The healthcare indicators currently record the evolution of the pandemic, according to the modifications established within the Interterritorial Council by the Ministry of Health and the Autonomous Communities.

🚦 Se actualizan los niveles de alerta por islas. Gran Canaria baja a nivel 3.
🟡 Nivel 2: #Lanzarote y #LaGraciosa
🔴 Nivel 3: #LaPalma, #ElHierro, #Fuerteventura, #LaGomera, #Tenerife y #GranCanaria
(Sigue 👇)
— Presidencia GobCan (@PresiCan) March 3, 2022


“Several islands” set to begin de-escalation of Covid Alert Levels this week

The president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, announced this Tuesday that the Governing Council will, “probably”, approve the lowering of Health Alert Levels this Thursday “on various islands”. Several islands will likely begin to de-escalate from their respective Covid Alert Levels after this Thursday’s Governing Council meeting. The President of the Government of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, made the announcement during a Canary Islands Regional Government control session of Parliament.

“There are objective reasons to invite optimism,” he stressed. “We are still in a pandemic, the curve of the sixth wave has been bent, we have less healthcare pressure, we removed restrictions last week and we will probably do so this Thursday,” he said, La Provincia.


The Covid traffic light system used in the Canary Islands currently ranks Tenerife and Gran Canaria at Alert Level 4 and Fuerteventura, El Hierro, La Gomera, La Palma and Lanzarote (where La Graciosa is included epidemiologically) all remain at Level 3.
Healthcare during the sixth wave has been in a “stressful situation”The sixth wave of Covid-19 infections has significantly multiplied the number of positives and there has been a stressful situation within the healthcare system across the islands, the president of the Canary Islands, Ángel Víctor Torres, said this Tuesday in the plenary session of the regional parliament.
Torres indicated that given the stressful situation that has occurred, both in Primary Care, and in hospital services and ICUs, temporary measures have had to be adopted.
Some measures will end as soon as the contagion curve is bent back down in the right direction, Torres pointed out, in reference to the controversies occurring at the Insular University Hospital of Gran Canaria.


Spanish Health Department reduces validity of antigen tests to 24 hours prior to entry to Spain

The validity of the antigen detection tests required to enter Spain has been reduced, from this Tuesday, to 24 hours rather than the 48 hour period that had been allowed until now, according to the Moncloa, referring to the official State Gazette published this Tuesday.

The resolution by the General Directorate of Health, regarding sanitary controls required at the entry points to Spain, highlights the decision as the result of a recommendation from the European Union in this regard.
Until now, antigen detection test certificates obtained within 48 hours prior to arrival into Spain were accepted as valid.
The diagnostic test certificate must include, at least, the following information:

Name and surname of the holder,
date of sample collection,
type of test performed
and issuing country.

“As of today, 1 February, and in line with Council Recommendation (EU) 2022/107 of 25 January 2022 on a coordinated approach to facilitate free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic, which replaces Recommendation (EU) 2020/1475, only negative results of antigen tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection obtained within 24 hours prior to arrival in Spain will be considered valid, and not 48 hours, as was the case until now.
As stated in the aforementioned Council Recommendation (EU) 2022/107 of 25 January 2022, the wide availability of the rapid antigen tests included in the common list agreed by the Health Safety Committee justifies establishing this validity period of no more than 24 hours for these tests.
On the other hand, and as has been the case to date, certificates of diagnostic tests for an active COVID-19 infection with a negative result from molecular nucleic acid amplification tests (NAAT), whose sample has been obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain, will continue to be considered as valid.
In any case, the diagnostic test certificate shall include at least the name and surname of the holder, the date the sample was taken, the type of test performed and the issuing country.”
Non official translation

There are concerns among many tourism businesses that tighter restrictions on test validity, along with the EU certificate validity of 270 days for full vaccination becoming a de facto standard, and the fact that unvaccinated British travellers, particularly 12 to 17 year olds may find it difficult to enter Spain over the coming weeks, will in combination cause material harm to the industry as a whole.  
The Canary Islands all remain on Alert Levels 3 or 4 right now, with legal restrictions limited to checking certificates at bars and restaurants, though as infection rates continue to drop, along with new admissions to hospitals, everything is expected to significantly relax as we head into spring time.
There are many who have mixed opinions about certificates and vaccinations, though on the whole most businesses are grateful for the opportunity to get back to business and do what Gran Canaria does best: hospitality and memories for a lifetime.



The Canary Guide

Curated news stories for English speakers who #LoveGranCanaria

The Canary News, Views & Sunshine - Est. 2009

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