A hotel in Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands has been locked down after a visiting Italian doctor tested positive for coronavirus.
Hundreds of guests at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel were told to stay in their rooms as medical tests were carried out.
The doctor is reportedly from the virus-hit Lombardy region. His wife has also now tested positive, sources say.
Global cases of the virus have passed 80,000, the vast majority in China.
Iran, one of the worst-affected nations outside China, on Tuesday said its deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, had tested positive for the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday the world should do more to prepare for a possible pandemic – a situation where an infectious disease spreads easily between people in many countries.
The proportion of infected people who die appears to be between 1% and 2%, although the WHO cautions that the precise mortality rate is not known yet.
What’s the latest from the hotel in Tenerife?
Spanish media reports say that police are guarding the four-star hotel in the south-west of the island and making sure no one enters or leaves.
But authorities are avoiding describing the situation as an enforced quarantine.
Health authority spokeswoman Veronica Martin earlier said that guests were being monitored for “health reasons”, adding that “the degree of supervision will be assessed during the day, but so far, we’re not talking about quarantine”.
One guest posted on Facebook an image of a note put under the door of their room on Tuesday saying: “We regret to inform you that for health reasons, the hotel has been closed down. Until the sanitary authorities warn, you must remain in your rooms.”
Another guest, John Turton, told the BBC he and his wife had seen the note but then heard people walking outside and heading to breakfast.
He said: “The hotel has been cordoned off but we’re trying to make the best of what’s going on. We haven’t been given any more information other than the note but we’re going to just wait, try and enjoy the holiday and see what happens.”
People had been walking around the hotel and using sun loungers, he said, but the police cordon was preventing people from leaving.
Mr Turton said he had not yet been tested.
Fellow Briton Nigel Scotland said he was most concerned that the man who had tested positive had been staying in the hotel for six days, and “during that time, probably five or six hundred people must have left the hotel and gone back to various places in Europe”.
The Italian doctor, who had been staying at the hotel with his wife, tested positive on Monday and has been placed in isolation at the University Hospital Nuestra Señora de Candelaria. He will undergo a second test to confirm the virus.
His wife was taken to the same hospital where she also tested positive in the first analysis, Spain’s Diario de Avisos reports.
- Quarantine raises virus fears in northern Italy
- Britons returning from northern Italy told to self-isolate
Meanwhile, a 36-year-old Italian woman has been diagnosed with Covid-19 in Barcelona.
Spain previously had two confirmed cases, both tourists – one German and one British.
What are the symptoms?
The main signs of infection are fever (high temperature) and a cough as well as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
What should I do?
Frequent hand washing with soap or gel, avoiding close contact with people who are ill and not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands can help cut the risk of infection.
Catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, binning it and washing your hands can minimise the risk of spreading disease.
What does ‘pandemic’ mean?
- A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease
- The H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, was declared a pandemic by the WHO in 2009
- The WHO no longer formally labels an outbreak of disease a “pandemic” but says the term may be used “colloquially”
- Its advice to countries – to limit the infections while preparing for wider spread – remains the same
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