|Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Sixth wave for Tenerife and Gran Canaria 

The holiday islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria, both popular destinations for British tourists, have had to raise their coronavirus alert level as new cases exceed the 500 mark within just 24 hours.

The Canary government made the decision today, with health officials saying they don’t yet know if the islands have reached the peak of the sixth wave.

Yesterday, 512 new cases of coronavirus COVID-19 were confirmed in 24 hours – the highest so far in this latest wave – and four more deaths, one in Tenerife and three in Gran Canaria. 

The accumulated incidence at seven days in the Canary Islands stands at 115.63 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and at 14 days at 226.57 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

The bulk of the new cases were in Tenerife (210 more) and in Gran Canaria (195).  Lanzarote added 40 new cases, Fuerteventura 48, La Palma 14, La Gomera two and three in El Hierro.

During this last week, there were 122 new outbreaks, 41 of them family-related and 22 linked to education.

Deputy minister of the Presidency of the Canary Islands Government, Antonio Olivera confirmed both Tenerife and Gran Canaria are moving from level one alert to level two because of the coronavirus increases. This will happen from Monday.

He said they were waiting to see if any of the 512 new cases were linked to the new Omicron variant but admitted it was a concern not just for the Canaries but the whole world. So far, there have only been two confirmed cases of Omicron in the islands.

The decision coincides with the introduction from today of the new Covid-free passes which will have to be shown by tourists and locals alike to get into certain pubs, restaurants, gyms, cinemas etc on any of the Canary islands which are on level 2 and above. Their use has been confirmed by the Supreme Court but they are not compulsory. However, if pubs etc choose to use them, they will benefit by being able to relax controls over occupancy levels and opening times.

For those places choosing not to ask for Covid passes, the new level 2 restrictions will mean the return to tighter controls and capacity limits. This would mean maximum table groups of eight (unless from the same family), 2am closures for bars and restaurants, a new ban on dancing in discos, half capacity on public transport, a temporary ban on live music events, festivals and parades and a 30 people limit on any guided tourism activities among others.

Tourists will therefore find the regulations will change from island to island and there will be a review of the general situation in mid-January.

At this stage, said Antonio Olivera, holidaymakers coming to the Canaries for Christmas are NOT facing even tougher restrictions, even though tourism chiefs anticipate a substantial increase in visitors as the islands are now in their high season due to the warm weather in the winter.