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Canary Islands hotel locked down over coronavirus

MADRID (Reuters) – A large Canary Islands hotel was locked down for coronavirus tests on Tuesday after a guest and his wife were found to be infected, as Spain also reported its first case of the disease on the mainland.

Catalan regional health authorities said a 36-year old Italian woman, resident in Barcelona, had tested positive after a recent trip to the north of Italy, which is Europe’s worst affected country with more than 280 cases.

Twenty-five people who came into contact with her will be quarantined at home for two weeks, though none of the group currently displays any symptoms, Catalan public health secretary Joan Guix told reporters.

The four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife went into lockdown after an Italian doctor on holiday on the island tested positive for the virus on Monday. His wife tested positive on Tuesday, the regional government said.

The doctor and his wife had been moved to a hospital isolation ward, and other hotel guests and staff would be tested for the virus, health authorities said.

Guests would remain there until the results of a second test on the doctor was known and, depending on that outcome, “appropriate health measures will be taken”, a Spanish government spokeswoman said.

The hotel has hundreds of rooms, several restaurants and swimming pools, and is located 50 meters (yards) from the beach. Around 1,000 people were inside, local newspaper Diario de Avisos said.

On its Facebook page, the hotel said it planned a carnival party on Thursday evening. Its management declined to comment on Tuesday.

Christopher Betts, an English guest from Leicestershire, said over the phone from his room that there were police cars stationed at all entrances.

“We’re told we’re in quarantine… The hotel seems to be acting normally, except that we cannot go out,” he said, adding that guests had been allowed to have breakfast in the restaurant.

People look over the sea into the haze created by a sand storm known locally as “La Calima” in Arrecife, Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, February 23, 2020. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

He had not been tested for the virus yet and had missed his flight home. Hotel employees were wearing masks, but none was provided for guests, Betts said.

Tens of thousands are expected this week in the Canary Islands for carnival festivities.

Before Monday, Spain had identified two coronavirus cases – a German tourist in La Gomera, another Canary Island, and a British man in Mallorca.

Additional reporting by Joan Faus, Paola Luelmo, Ingrid Melander, Nathan Allen; Editing by Andrei Khalip and John Stonestreet

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