Hundreds of tourists are placed in quarantine in Tenerife

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The FINANCIAL — Hundreds of holidaymakers, mainly from northern Europe, are placed in quarantine as a result of an outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Tenerife which is  the most populated island of Spain. Authorities in Tenerife said Wednesday that 106 of the 723 guests at the resort could be released. 

Three more people have tested positive for coronavirus at the four-star Tenerife hotel placed on lockdown after an Italian doctor staying there was confirmed to have the deadly bug, according to new reports. The doctor’s wife — along with two other people they had been staying with — also tested positive for COVID-19 at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel on the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands. After the first test came back positive, health authorities ordered that the around 1,000 guests at the hotel be monitored for infection, New York Post reported.

Police are guarding the hotel to stop anyone other than health workers from entering or leaving, and guests were being confined to their rooms. The unidentified doctor who was diagnosed with the virus on Tuesday voluntarily presented himself for tests because he suspected that he had coronavirus symptoms. He had spent a week on holiday with his wife at the resort, which is popular with British tourists, when he became unwell. He is being treated in an isolation unit at the University Hospital Nuestra Senora de Candelaria hospital. More tests will be carried out in Madrid today to confirm the diagnosis. Worried guests at the hotel were concerned they too might have come down with the virus. A room at the hotel costs nearly 200 euros ($217) a night, but a senior source within the Canary Islands government told Al Jazeera: “Right now, our priority is the health situation. All questions of who will have to pay for rooms and other arrangements will be dealt with later,” Aljazeera wrote.

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Authorities in Tenerife said Wednesday that 106 of the 723 guests at the resort could be released in coming hours because they had no direct contact with the four holidaymakers who tested positive for the COVID-19 disease. The remaining 600 or so customers from 25 countries, will need to remain quarantined for 14 days, Teresa Cruz, the health regional ministry in the Canary Islands told a news conference. She added that hotel workers are being allowed to rotate in shifts, and those among the staff who leave the premises will need to remain under official surveillance at home. The islands are also famous for their carnivals. The H10 hotel had planned celebrations this week, but its website on Wednesday said that the hotel has closed “for the next days” in order to “guarantee the safety of customers and employees,” USA Today wrote.

People inside the hotel have criticised the response, saying they have been left with nothing to do but sit in their rooms and wait it out. Relatives of an 82-year-old widower at the four star H10 Costa Adeje Palace have expressed their concerns for him after a letter was sent round saying the hotel had been ‘closed down’. Retired builder Alan Cunliffe, from Wigan, is on holiday and was due to fly home later this week. John Butler, his nephew, said: ‘My uncle is stuck in the hotel currently on lockdown due to the coronavirus. He was supposed to be flying home on Friday. He’s 82 and is there all alone. He has been stuck in his room all day without any information, no food, only water and is very concerned, Metro reported.

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Guests at the hotel have been given face masks, rubber gloves and a thermometer to test their temperatures. They have been urged to stay in their rooms but some have chosen to ignore this, according to another British tourist at the hotel. Steve Forrester said: “There’s quite a lot of people wandering around the ground. The official word is stay in your room, but it’s not really being enforced,” according to The Guardian.

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