50 British tourists have been cleared to leave a hotel in Spain’s Canary Islands that was on lockdown over the coronavirus – but 118 have been told they have to stay in quarantine. The guests at Tenerife’s H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel have spent three days in isolation after the coronavirus was detected there in
50 British tourists have been cleared to leave a hotel in Spain’s Canary Islands that was on lockdown over the coronavirus – but 118 have been told they have to stay in quarantine.
The guests at Tenerife’s H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel have spent three days in isolation after the coronavirus was detected there in four Italian tourists.
Now it is understood that 50 of the 168 Britons currently held on the site are free to return home.
Those who can leave are understood to have arrived on Monday, after the guests who were diagnosed had already left.
Overall, 130 guests from 11 countries have been told they can leave by Spanish authorities.
A statement from the Foreign Office said: ‘We are urgently seeking clarification from the Canary Island authorities following their announcement that 130 tourists of different nationalities will be granted permission to leave the Costa Adeje Palace Hotel.
‘We continue to offer support to all British nationals at the hotel.’
A live camera positioned outside the resort prepares to film cleared guests on their way out of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel today
Health officials wear face masks as they stand at the entrance of the Tenerife hotel today
The nationalities of the freed guests are yet to be announced.
The Foreign Office said earlier today it had ‘no plans’ to fly British tourists home from their hotel lockdown.
The 168 Britons at the resort had their hopes raised on Thursday when Canary Islands officials said they were in talks with foreign diplomats about a possible flight.
Some guests had pleaded with Boris Johnson to order a rescue mission after they were told they were facing a two-week quarantine at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace.
But an FCO spokeswoman told MailOnline earlier today: ‘We’re in touch with Spanish authorities but as far as we’re aware there’s no plans for a flight at the moment.’
A woman and her child look out of the window of their hotel room today at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace in Tenerife which is in quarantine over coronavirus fears
Downing Street defended the response to the situation at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘The Foreign Office has been in contact with more than 100 British nationals who are staying in the hotel.
‘They are providing them with support, they are also in regular contact with local authorities and tour companies to share information.
‘The quarantine is being managed by the Spanish authorities. We understand that those guests who have been assessed by medical staff and who are not showing symptoms are free to move around within the hotel.’
Pressed on whether there would be an evacuation flight for Britons, the spokesman said: ‘We base all our decisions on medical and scientific advice and everything is kept under review.’
A tourist wearing a face mask cycles on an exercise bike next to the pool at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace today where 168 Britons are beginning a two-week lockdown
Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said the agency had sent a ‘health protection specialist’ to Spain to work with local authorities.
The specialist will work to ‘better understand the public health measures that have been put in place in the hotel’, she said.
‘This includes understanding spread of the virus within the hotel and how the Spanish authorities are monitoring the situation.’
The guests are locked in a four-star hotel and have been allowed to leave their rooms, lounge by the pool and eat in the hotel restaurant.
Spanish officials ordered the two-week quarantine after four Italian guests who stayed at the hotel last week tested positive for coronavirus.
Julio Perez, a spokesman for the Canary Islands regional government, said today that talks with foreign officials had been taking place in Tenerife and Madrid.
Regional health minister Teresa Cruz told a press conference that there had been a ‘good reaction from the respective embassies to repatriate their citizens’.
‘Today the health ministry has a meeting about the same subject, seeking the implication of the different embassies so they can get their citizens home if they feel it is appropriate,’ she said.
Perez added: ‘This morning our government authorities have had meeting with different consuls and in Madrid there’s been talks with ambassadors.
‘If we can assure a transfer in such a way that we know that when they reach their home countries, their respective health authorities and epidemiology services can carry on conducting active monitoring, they could go if this is organised.
‘At the moment it’s safe for the 140-odd tourists who checked in after the people staying at the hotel who have tested positive.’
However, British officials do not appear to have shared the enthusiasm described by their Spanish counterparts.
The Foreign Office says it has spoken to dozens of the British tourists by phone and text, but there are no plans to arrange a repatriation flight.
A man walks next to the swimming pool of the Tenerife hotel, which was placed in quarantine by Spanish authorities after four Italian guests tested positive for the virus
Tourists next to the outdoor pool today at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace where most guests have been allowed out of their rooms
Officials are keeping the situation under review.
The FCO previously chartered such a flight for British nationals who were trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.
However, that was only after the Japanese quarantine had been widely declared a failure with hundreds of people infected during the two-week lockdown.
Whitehall was also forced into action in the Japanese case after the United States government unilaterally pulled out more than 300 U.S. nationals.
Before that, countries scrambled to get their citizens home from Wuhan after the start of the outbreak in China.
The Foreign Office chartered two flights to bring British nationals home which landed at RAF Brize Norton.
Earlier a ‘frightened’ British mother trapped at the hotel said she feared the hotel lockdown would turn into another Diamond Princess disaster.
Lara Pennington, who is on holiday with her two young sons and elderly in-laws, said claimed that some guests were failing to follow measures to stop the virus spreading.
‘The Spanish government were advising that if we wanted to we could leave our rooms as long as we were wearing masks and washing hands,’ she told ITV’s Good Morning Britain today.
‘It’s clearly apparent there are large numbers who are not following that process.
‘Containment strategy is clearly not working, it was never going to work. It should be an enforced quarantine,’ said the 45-year-old tourist from Manchester.
Lara Pennington (pictured), 45, from Manchester, said today that guests at the Tenerife hotel are flouting quarantine rules and risking spreading the virus
Hannah Green and Court Amys are pictured in a photograph this morning at the Tenerife resort
The FCO previously chartered a rescue flight for British nationals who were trapped on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan (pictured)
The Briton has decided to self-isolate her family in the hotel room to keep out the disease, which has already claimed the lives of 2,771 people worldwide.
She said today that her family has still to be tested for the illness and had only been provided with thermometers to check whether they were are infected.
‘We’re not being looked after in terms of our vulnerability,’ she said. ‘We are frightened.’
Spanish authorities padlocked the doors of the four-star hotel after four guests from Italy tested positive.
Guests were initially told to stay in their rooms but local authorities have now said people without symptoms can move around the hotel, including to the pool and bar.
This has raised fears that the virus will spread rapidly among the guests, with social media photos showing people not wearing face masks and sharing buffet meals.
Steve McHardy, 53, an estate agent from Kinross, in eastern Scotland, and his wife Susan, also 53, are among those stuck in the hotel.
Mrs McHardy told TV doctor Hilary Jones during ITV’s Lorraine that they were supposed to be enjoying a four-day sunshine break to celebrate a birthday but have now been told they will need to stay in Tenerife for at least 14 days.
A resort worker cleans the pool of the h10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain, this morning
The hotel laid on free champagne for tourists yesterday after guests were told they would have to stay put at the resort until mid-March
A police officer wearing a mask talks on the phone in front of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in La Caleta, in the Canary Island of Tenerife, Spain yesterday
Guests were sunbathing in masks and enjoying free supplies of food and alcohol at the hotel poolside yesterday after learning they would be staying well into March
Employees wearing protective masks arrange water bottles in the lobby of the hotel
Mrs McHardy added: ‘We didn’t go out in the beginning but yesterday we went to reception – you are allowed to go out with your masks on.
‘At the beginning, we were getting food parcels put to our rooms, but now the only food you can get is at the restaurant so we have to go out now.’
Dr Jones responded to the couple and criticised the isolation measure at the hotel.
He said if somebody was diagnosed on the last day of the 14-day quarantine, the 14-day period would need to start again.
He added: ‘At the moment, what’s happening in that hotel is not self-isolation because people are sunbathing round the pool, going to the restaurant – you are in a mass quarantine together.
‘My worry, and your worry, will be this – that on day 14 when you are ready to come home and somebody tests positive, you’re back in quarantine for another 14 days because you will have been exposed.
‘That’s the worry if people don’t self-isolate.
‘You haven’t been given logical guidance to follow and nor is anybody else adhering to that, even if it was there.
‘You could potentially be in quarantine for (another) 14 days if on day 14 somebody tests positive.’