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Coronavirus: Irish people confirmed at quarantined Tenerife hotel after doctor tests positive for virus

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A Spanish police officer sets a barrier blocking the access to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, Canary Island, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020.  (AP Photo)

A Spanish police officer sets a barrier blocking the access to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, Canary Island, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo)

AP

A Spanish police officer sets a barrier blocking the access to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife, Canary Island, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo)

THERE are a number of Irish people staying in a tourist hotel on the Canary Island of Tenerife that has been placed in quarantine after a case of coronavirus was confirmed there, it is understood.

It emerged this morning that an Italian doctor staying there tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

The press office for the town of Adeje confirmed that the restrictions are in place at the H10 Adeje Palace hotel.

Spanish media said some 1,000 tourists staying at the complex are not allowed to leave.

In a statement to Independent.ie, the Department of Foreign Affairs said that Irish nationals have been in touch with the department.

"The Department and our Embassy in Madrid are closely monitoring the situation," the statement read.

"We are in touch with the local health and tourist authorities. A number of Irish nationals staying in the area have been in contact directly with us. We are providing consular advice.

"Anyone who has specific concerns regarding Irish citizens currently in the affected area can contact the Department on 01 4082527," it added.

The Canary Islands, an archipelago located some 62 miles west of the African coast, is a popular holiday destination that attracts many tourists all year around.

Thousands of Irish tourists are believed to be present on the island at the moment.

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Employees wearing protective masks arrange water bottles in the lobby of a hotel under lockdown after a coronavirus case was identified in Adeje, in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, February 25, 2020. Christopher Betts via REUTERS

Employees wearing protective masks arrange water bottles in the lobby of a hotel under lockdown after a coronavirus case was identified in Adeje, in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, February 25, 2020. Christopher Betts via REUTERS

via REUTERS

Employees wearing protective masks arrange water bottles in the lobby of a hotel under lockdown after a coronavirus case was identified in Adeje, in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, February 25, 2020. Christopher Betts via REUTERS

The archipelago's president Angel Victor Torres said the Italian doctor who is positive for the disease has been quarantined in a local clinic while samples are analysed in a hospital near Madrid to confirm the initial diagnosis.

Spain's Europa Press reported that the visiting tourist had arrived from one of the areas in northern Italy where a cluster of the coronavirus has infected hundreds of people. The patient voluntarily went to a clinic in Tenerife on Monday when he began feeling unwell.

It is Spain's third case of Covid-19 and the second in the Canary Islands. A German tourist was quarantined earlier this month on the island of La Gomera and a British citizen in the Mediterranean's Balearic Islands.

Both were released after recovering and showing no further symptoms of the illness.

A British holidaymaker staying at the hotel said she is having a "holiday from hell" after the case was confirmed.

Hannah Green, 27, from Hertfordshire, arrived at the hotel on Saturday with her boyfriend, Court Amys, and their one-year-old son. They are supposed to be staying until Sunday.

She told the PA news agency that communication had been "non-existent", adding: "We woke up to a note under our door this morning saying that for health reasons not to leave our room.

"I called downstairs to reception as soon as I saw it and they wouldn't tell us anything. So I quickly got on my phone and googled and saw a man had tested positive for coronavirus so I basically assumed it was that.

"But since then, we've had nothing from the hotel - no one has told us anything or what's going to happen."

Ms Green said she would like to go home but added: "I don't think we'll be allowed to leave. We don't want to be here. We're fed up now."

She said a sandstorm at the weekend had also confined them to their rooms.

"The sandstorm was the day after we arrived, Sunday, so we had to stay in the hotel then," she said. "Holiday from hell, honestly."

A spokeswoman for Tui UK said it was aware of a case of Covid-19 at the hotel.

She added: "We can confirm that Tui has around 200 customers in the resort from different countries. Tui representatives on Tenerife are present on site and will liaise with our customers.

"All guests have been asked to remain in their rooms and are being looked after by the hotel.

"Our holiday programme to Tenerife continues to operate as planned for all other hotels."

Meanwhile, China reported 508 new cases and another 71 deaths on Tuesday, 68 of them in the central city of Wuhan, where the epidemic was first detected in December.

The updates bring mainland China's totals to 77,658 cases and 2,663 deaths.

South Korea now has the second-most cases in the world with 893 and has had a near 15-fold increase in reported infections in a week, with 60 new cases reported on Tuesday.

As South Korea reported its eighth fatality, health workers continued to find batches in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas, where panic has brought towns to an eerie standstill.

Clusters have also emerged in Iran and Italy, and there are concerns the new outbreaks could signal a serious new stage in the global spread of the illness.

Schools were closed in Iran for a second day, and daily sanitising of public buses and the Tehran metro, which is used by some three million people a day, was started.

In several countries that reported their first cases on Monday - Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman, the infected patients had links with Iran.

Iraq and Afghanistan closed their borders with Iran in an effort to stop the further spread while Bahrain announced a 48-hour suspension of flights to and from Dubai, the world's busiest international airport.

The virus also spread via tourists travelling within Italy, as the southern island of Sicily reported a positive case from a woman vacationing from Bergamo, in northern Lombardy. Two cases were also reported in Tuscany, well south of the epicentre.

She and her husband were put in isolation, and officials were tracing their contacts to try to contain the spread on the autonomous island, Sicily's regional government said.

Civil protection officials on Tuesday reported a large jump of cases in Italy, from 222 to 283. Seven have died, all of them elderly people suffering from other problems.

Premier Giuseppe Conte shocked Lombardy officials by taking to task the hospital in Codogno, southeast of Milan, where Italy's first positive patient went on February 18 with flu-like symptoms. The man was sent home, only to return a short time later with worsening conditions, at which point he was tested for the virus.

Many of Lombardy's positive tests have a traceable connection to the Codogno hospital, including several doctors and nurses, patients and relatives who visited them.

Mr Conte told reporters that the Lombardy cluster grew "because of the hospital management that wasn't completely proper according to the protocols that are recommended for these cases".

"This surely contributed to the spread," he said.

Lombardy's chief health official, Giulio Gallera, expressed shock at Mr Conte's remarks and defended the region's handling of the crisis.

Austria temporarily halted rail traffic across its border with Italy and Slovenia and Croatia, popular getaways for Italians, were holding crisis meetings.

Schools were closed, theatre performances cancelled, and even Venice Carnival celebrations were called off.

"These rapid developments over the weekend have shown how quickly this situation can change," the health commissioner for the European Union, Stella Kyriakides, said in Brussels.

"We need to take this situation of course very seriously, but we must not give in to panic, and, even more importantly, to disinformation."

After the large increase in cases of Covid-19 - the disease caused by the coronavirus - in several countries, the World Heath Organisation said the virus had the potential to cause a pandemic.

"The past few weeks has demonstrated just how quickly a new virus can spread around the world and cause widespread fear and disruption," WHO's Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

"(But) for the moment we're not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus."

With additional reporting from Press Association

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