As the coronavirus spreads across Europe, expect more hotels to enter lockdown mode and some airports to begin shutting down flights to afflicted regions.
A thousand guests and staff at a hotel in Tenerife have been quarantined after an Italian man tested positive for the coronavirus.
News of the quarantine came as the Austrian state of Tyrol, which borders Italy, confirmed its first two cases of the virus and Croatia confirmed its first case in a patient in a hospital in the capital, Zagreb.
Health authorities in the Canary Islands ordered the lockdown of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in south Tenerife on Monday as Spain waited for definitive proof of its third case of the virus.
The hotel is used by the holiday package firms Tui and Jet2Holidays.
The four-star, seafront resort was locked down at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, hours after the Italian man, reported to be a doctor, complained of feeling ill and was taken to a local hospital.
The World Health Organization is recommending that people take simple precautions to reduce exposure to and transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus, for which there is no specific cure or vaccine.
Despite a surge in sales of face masks in the aftermath of the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak, experts are divided over whether they can prevent transmission and infection. There is some evidence to suggest that masks can help prevent hand-to-mouth transmissions, given the large number of times people touch their faces. The consensus appears to be that wearing a mask can limit – but not eliminate – the risks, provided they are used correctly.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised UK nationals to leave China where possible. It is also warning that travelers from Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand who develop symptoms of cough or fever or shortness of breath within 14 days of returning the UK should contact the NHS by phone.
By Tuesday afternoon, the hotel, on the outskirts of Adeje, was quiet and workers had been told not to come come to work. The resort was guarded by local police officers who declined to speak to the media, and a red barrier had been erected. The shops, bars and restaurants inside had been sealed off and staff who had turned up to work in the morning had been told to go home.
A letter sent by managers to guests at the four-star, seafront hotel said they must stay in their rooms following the fellow guest’s coronavirus diagnosis.
“H10 Hotels has implemented all health and operational recommendations from the health authorities to ensure the safety and wellbeing of customers and employees,” the hotel said in a statement.
“Additionally, we are providing customers and hotel staff all the necessary care and attention so that, despite the inconveniences this situation may cause, they are taken care of in the best way possible.”
A British guest told Reuters that he was among those in quarantine and complained of a lack of information.
“We can see from the window there are security officers outside the hotel and about 50 hotel employees,” Christopher Betts said over the phone from his room at the hotel, adding that all guests were asked to remain in their rooms.
Betts said they had been allowed to have breakfast in the hotel restaurant but added: “We have received no information whatsoever.” He said he had not been tested for the virus.
This article was written by Sam Jones in Madrid and Ken Bennett in Adeje from The Guardian and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].
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Photo credit: An airplane flying over a golf course in Tenerife. Albert Koch / Flickr