La Graciosa which stayed covid-free for SIX months confirms its first-ever infection
The tiny Canary island of La Graciosa, one of the few places in Spain to be covid-free, has recorded its very FIRST positive case of coronavirus since the pandemic began in January and it is a holidaymaker.
The authorities have confirmed a Spaniard who travelled from Catalonia to La Graciosa for a few days has tested positive. The tourist, reported to be a woman, is now in isolation in an apartment on the island and trackers have already started the process of trying to trace all contacts. A second person who travelled wither is also being tested.
La Graciosa had prided itself on its zero figures and was one of the four islands which were allowed to advance considerably quicker than the rest of Spain during the de-escalation period. The other three islands were Formentera in the Balearics, together with La Gomera and El Hierro in the Canaries.It is known as the “eighth” island of the Canaries, having only gained recognition last year and joins Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, El Hierro, La Gomera, Fuerteventura and La Pama. With a population of just 700, it opened to “covid-free tourism” on June 21st and accommodation on the island has been virtually sold out.
La Graciosa spent weeks preparing for the re-establishment of tourism and staff of bars, restaurants, transport and tourism businesses underwent training courses and talks relating to virus prevention. The island is only accessible by boat and comes under the jurisdiction of the neighbouring island of Lanzarote, specifically Teguise council.The tourist had been staying in Caleta de Sebo and was tested after starting to show mild coronavirus symptoms. She had previously visited various areas of Lanzarote.Teguise’s mayor Oswaldo Betancort said he was hugely disappointed and blamed the lack of testing controls on holidaymakers coming into the islands. He said he had raised the matter several times without success.”In order for the island of La Graciosa to remain free of Covid-19, leaving a favourable situation in the face of zero contagion, the entrance had to be controlled with tests,” he said.The Canary government has been pressing for coronavirus tests on tourists for months but has so far been unable to get approval. At one stage, the Canary president Ángel Víctor Torres suggested public and private money could fund the tests or even the holidaymakers and/or travel agents and airlines themselves. He suggested it would cost about 20 euros.Just a week ago, a British tourist caused a coronavirus scare in Lanzarote after she arrived from the UK for a holiday on the popular island and tested positive for COVID-19 . Nine other people with whom she had contact with also had to undergo a coronavirus test but all proved negative.The Brit was the first holidaymaker from the UK to test positive in Lanzarote since Spain opened its borders on June 21st.