At Spanish Hotel Under Coronavirus Lockdown, Meals With Masks


The authorities announced on Wednesday that three more people had tested positive in the country.

Credit…Associated Press

Elian PeltierRaphael Minder

TENERIFE, Spain — At a tourist resort on a Spanish island where hundreds of hotel guests remained on lockdown on Wednesday to contain the spread of the coronavirus, some had breakfast and lunch while wearing masks, then quickly repaired to their rooms.

A few guests floated around wearing masks in virtually empty corridors and common areas, videos from inside the hotel, the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel on Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, showed.

“There’s almost no one,” said Silke Bal, 17, a guest from Belgium, as she walked around the hotel. “Everything is closed.”

The lockdown remained firmly in place for most guests as the Spanish authorities announced on Wednesday that three more people had tested positive for the coronavirus, and officials in Europe scrambled to contain an outbreak that had spread to five nations on the Continent. France on Wednesday reported its second death from the coronavirus.

For the first time, more new cases have been reported outside China than inside, according to the World Health Organization’s chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The number of new cases reported in China on Tuesday was 411; elsewhere, the total was 427. The number of cases globally has now reached 80,980, and nearly 3,000 of those have died.

The European Union’s top official for communicable diseases also warned that the Continent needed to prepare for a large-scale pandemic, as Italy struggled to bring a cluster of cases in the north of the country under control.

Dr. Andrea Ammon, the director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said at a news conference in Rome on Wednesday, “We will likely see a similar situation in other countries in Europe.”

The European Union’s health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said she had asked all member countries to send her details about their pandemic preparedness, including how they planned to trace people who had been in contact with someone infected.

“We have requested member states to review their pandemic plans as well as health care capabilities,” Ms. Kyriakides said in Rome on Wednesday, “including capacity for diagnosing, laboratory testing and procedures for contact tracing.”

  • Updated Feb. 26, 2020

    • How worried should I be?

      New outbreaks in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are renewing fears of a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that Americans should brace for the likelihood that the virus will spread to the United States.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?

      Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you’re sick.
    • What if I’m traveling?

      The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all non-essential travel to South Korea and China.
    • How can I prepare for a possible outbreak?

      Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines. Get a flu shot. Have essential household items on hand. Have a support system in place for eldery family members.
    • What is a Coronavirus?

      It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS.
    • Where has the virus spread?

      The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea.
    • How contagious is the virus?

      According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures.
    • Who is working to contain the virus?

      The World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world is not ready for a major outbreak.

That European push came as Spanish officials announced on Wednesday that one person each in Madrid, Catalonia and Seville had tested positive for the virus, bringing the country’s total to 12.

The first two people had recently arrived from Italy, which has seen an eruption of the most cases in Europe: more than 300. Italy’s Lombardy region has been hit especially hard by the outbreak. Cases that appear to be connected to Lombardy have also been reported in France, Austria, Croatia and Switzerland.

A man in his 60s also tested positive in Spain’s southern region of Andalusia and was placed in isolation. But he had not recently visited Italy, and the authorities were trying to establish if he might have been infected by somebody who had recently traveled outside Spain.

Enrique Ruíz Escudero, an official with the regional government of Madrid, the Spanish capital, said the two young people who had recently been to Italy had been transferred to hospitals and placed in isolation. Officials described their condition as “good.”

All of this week’s cases in Spain still had to be confirmed by a second round of testing, which will be done in Spain’s national center of microbiology.

Across Europe, in addition to the people at the hotel in the Canary Islands, guests at hotels in Austria and France were placed in lockdown this week after others either tested positive for the virus or were suspected of having it.

On Wednesday, there were two types of visitors in the coastal town of Adeje, in southwest Tenerife: those who remained essentially sealed in their hotel because of the coronavirus and those staying elsewhere, free to wander around and wondering how those under lockdown were doing.

“How are they getting breakfast in there?” asked Katrien Van Gele, a visitor from Belgium.

Hundreds of vacationers at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel were ordered not to leave the building after the illness was diagnosed in an Italian doctor and his partner. The authorities sought to trace everyone who had come in contact with the doctor at the resort.

However, 106 guests who had arrived at the hotel after the Italian doctor was isolated were preparing to leave later on Wednesday after receiving final clearance from the authorities.

On Wednesday morning, while guests at the H10 remained restricted in their movements and the hotel said on its website that it would remain “temporarily closed for the next few days,” refrigerated food trucks and workers were sent to provide supplies to the hotel at midday, while guests there said they could leave their rooms and wander around the resort, including the swimming pool.

Communication within the hotel remained scant among guests. Some, like Laura Walter, a 24-year-old tourist from Germany, said she had not been let out of her room Wednesday morning. “We have been waiting for a call from the reception,” Ms. Walter said in a message.

In an interviews with the Spanish television channel Antena 3, a guest at the hotel showed the leftovers of the salami-and-cheese sandwiches and the fruit that had been delivered to the room he is sharing with his wife, as well as a supply of water and a set of clean sheets.

“I guess it means nobody is going to be cleaning our room all of this time,” the man said.

Another guest said, “We are seeing the beach from the balcony, but without being able to enjoy it.”

The mayor of Adeje, José Miguel Rodríguez Fraga, tried to reassure locals in front of the hotel on Wednesday, saying that the situation inside was complicated.

“We have to control a virus that isn’t totally deadly,” he said.

Mr. Rodríguez Fraga said there were 25 nationalities among the hundreds of guests in the hotel, and that the impact on the local tourism industry could be heavy. “We are a vulnerable territory,” he said. “But it’s not a catastrophe; it’s not the end of the world.”

Initially, the coronavirus reached Spanish islands that are major tourism hubs, including Tenerife. But since Tuesday, the virus has spread to the mainland, including the two largest cities in Spain, Madrid and Barcelona.

Fernando Simón, the head of Spain’s coordination center for health alerts and emergencies, said at a news conference on Wednesday that all additional cases identified in the country this week had been in “controlled situations” and had their origins traced to Italy.

For now, he said, Spain did not need additional measures to control the coronavirus. Mr. Simón said, “Spain does not recommend checkpoints at airports,” which he argued had limited efficacy. He also warned that such checkpoints could have the counterproductive effect of “relaxing” the internal monitoring of the disease.

“The situation in Spain has not changed significantly,” he said. “We have more volume, but the risk of transmission for the population hasn’t changed.”

Outside the H10 Costa Adeje, most visitors said they remained unconcerned about the outbreak but would avoid the touristy areas in the southern part of Tenerife Island.

“As long as those inside the hotel remain there for now, I think we’re safe,” said Berns Drewitz, a visitor from Germany.

Others, like John, a 61-year-old visitor from Ireland who declined to give his surname, said he and his wife would shorten their vacation and would fly back home on Friday instead of Sunday.

“We don’t want to be blocked here for two or three more weeks,” he said.

But Ms. Van Gele, the visitor from Belgium, said she wouldn’t mind being trapped on the island. “More vacation is always welcome,” she said. “Let’s just not panic.”

Elian Peltier reported from Tenerife, Spain, and Raphael Minder from Madrid. Matina Stevis-Gridneff contributed reporting from Brussels.

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