The Health Department of the Tenerife region has reported that all five confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the hotel, who are all travellers who came from Italy and have been kept in isolation, remain in good health; and guests have begun departing the hotel as the Spanish Ministry of Health, together with the Health Department, draws up plans for the departure of the remaining guests:
- The first group of people, which is made up of people who have shown symptoms and tested positive (the five people hospitalised and those who had close contact with the hospitalised patients), will be treated in Spain and return to their country once they are discharged from hospital.
- The second group, which is made up of guests who entered the hotel on 24 February ( a group of up to 130 people, including the 83 that have already left), are considered to have no risk whatsoever of exposure and may now leave the hotel and return to their home countries with no additional measures required.
- The third and final group, comprised of those who entered the hotel before 24 February and have been closely monitored and are all asymptomatic, are also allowed to leave the hotel and fly back to their countries, provided they fulfil three conditions (they continue to be asymptomatic; medical tests carried out 24 hours before their departure come back negative, and their countries of origin have established the procedure for their return and guarantee to continue monitoring them once they arrive home).
The Tenerife Tourism Board asserts that there is a state of ‘absolute normality’ across the island.
Elsewhere, the airline industry is expecting a considerable economic impact from the spread of the novel coronavirus. Buckingham Research’s Daniel McKenzie also noted that the industry may face a ‘financial crisis-type or 9/11 demand and earnings shock’. “Over the past two days, the CDC and other experts have warned that containment is unlikely, which creates a far more challenging demand picture,” he said.
Indeed, British Airways (BA) is among those that have cancelled flights in response to a drop in demand following coronavirus concerns. The airline has has cancelled flights from both London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports, including some 56 round trip flights to multiple destinations in Italy. BA are also cancelling six round-trip flights from Heathrow to Singapore every other day starting from 15 March (15, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 March); and axing round-trip flights from Heathrow to Seoul, South Korea every other day during the period 13 March to 28 March.
BA has urged people not to travel to the airport if their flight has been cancelled and assures customers on cancelled services that they will be offered the option of a full refund, to re-book to a later date or to re-book on other carriers where possible.
"To match reduced demand due to the continuing coronavirus issue, we are merging a number of flights between March 13 and March 28," a BA spokesperson said. “We will be contacting customers on cancelled flights so we can discuss their travel options, including re-booking onto other carriers where possible, full refunds or booking with BA for a later date of travel. Customers can also find the latest information and options on BA.com.”
McKenzie warned that the crisis would likely start to affect airlines in peak travel periods such as spring break, during Easter travel and early summer. He also noted that the growing number of corporate travel restrictions was ‘disconcerting’, as business travellers tend to be ‘demand-inelastic’ and represent one of the industry’s ‘most lucrative revenue streams’.
No need to panic
The Covid-19 coronavirus needs to be taken seriously, but should not cause panic
Since Covid-19 emerged in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, it has spread globally and might yet still be declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). However, while it has resulted in the death of about 3,000 people and disrupted global stock markets, there is no reason to panic when considering the facts.
In China, the number of cases is already significantly falling. The exponential rise in cases has now levelled off substantially, and while a few weeks ago, China reported more than 3,000 new cases per day, the number is now at fewer than 500.
Furthermore, most cases are mild with a low death rate. A study including 72,000 Covid-19 patients in China found that 81 per cent of cases were mild, 14 per cent were severe and 5 per cent were critical. The death rate overall sits at 2.3 per cent.
Only one out of every 1,000 people in Hubei Province contracted the coronavirus. Given that the population density in most other countries is lower than China, it’s likely that the coronavirus will have a much harder time spreading in other parts of the world.
Finally, there have been no reported deaths in young children. Almost all infected children under the age of nine only experienced cold-like symptoms and only 2.4 per cent of cases were in individuals under the age of 18.
However, the virus should still be taken seriously. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has warned that person-to-person spread will continue to occur and suggests restocking your medicine cabinet, stocking up on food for a week and practicing proper hygiene.