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Hundreds of tourists trapped after Spanish hotel locked down over coronavirus

  • Published at 10:05 pm February 25th, 2020
Coronavirus
File photo: Medical workers in protective suits inspect a CT scan image at a hospital in Yunmeng county of Xiaogan city in Hubei, the province hit hardest by the novel coronavirus outbreak, China on February 20, 2020 Reuters

Depending on the results of the test, appropriate measures will be taken

Hundreds of people were confined to a Tenerife hotel after an Italian tourist was hospitalised in a suspected case of coronavirus, officials in Spain's Canary Islands said.

"Hundreds of hotel clients are being monitored for health reasons... but so far, we're not talking about quarantine," a health authority spokeswoman told AFP on Tuesday, saying the Italian tourist "was staying at this hotel while on holiday in Tenerife."

The archipelago's health authorities said late on Monday that an Italian man had tested positive for coronavirus and was being kept in isolation while his results undergo a second analysis in Madrid as required by Spain's protocol for suspected cases of the disease.

The results are expected late on Tuesday and until then "the guests will remain in the hotel," Spanish government spokesman Maria Jesus Montero told a news conference.

"Depending on the results of the test, appropriate measures will be taken," she added.

The tourist is reportedly a doctor from Italy's northern Lombardy region where several people have died from the virus. 

He and his wife, who have both been hospitalised, had been staying at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje hotel on the island's southwestern coast. 

Outside the hotel, which overlooks the sea, a handful of local and national police could be seen standing around wearing masks and purple protective gloves, the entrance cordoned off by plastic tape, footage from one of the hotel guests showed. 

Some guests could be seen sunbathing outside by one of its pools.

Two confirmed cases

The scare came as hotels across the Canary Islands were packed with guests who had flown in for the traditional February carnival festivities. 

Spain is the second-most visited country in the world after France and tourism is crucial for the domestic economy, accounting for around 12 percent of its gross domestic product.

Spain had so far registered two confirmed cases of coronavirus, both in foreign tourists.

The first case was that of a German man on La Gomera Island in the Canaries who tested positive on January 31 followed by a British man who tested positive in Mallorca in the Balearic Islands on February 9. Both recovered.

Seven people in Italy have so far died after catching the virus, making it the hardest-hit country in Europe. In China, where the virus first appeared, the virus has killed more than 2,600 people.