A family party is responsible for biggest outbreak in the Canary Islands

2020/07/16 08:54:51 Written by Canarian Weekly Fuerteventura

"40% of the outbreaks detected to date in Spain, have originated from family gatherings"

A family party held in late June has allegedly caused the largest outbreak of coronavirus recorded in the Canary Islands since the state of alarm ended: 10 infections spread between Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura that the Ministry of Health suspects may have had an imported origin.

The contagion has affected 10 members of the same family residing in Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura, who met at a party with about twenty attendees including a relative who had just arrived on vacation from Mexico, a country where the pandemic is still strong.

The epidemiology services have therefore considered that the origin of this person, who is male, could make him a candidate to be the so-called "patient zero" of this outbreak, even if he did not present any type of symptoms, which apparently is the case according to a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health.

The sequence of diagnoses is as follows: a first reported case of a woman in Fuerteventura, four more on the same island (three relatives and a friend), and five in Gran Canaria (among family members who had gone to Fuerteventura for the party).

Two of the protagonists of this story have contacted the EFE News Agency to tell their version of events. Both have identified and given details of what happened, but have requested anonymity.

The relative who arrived from Mexico landed in Gran Canaria on June 27th, and claims that he himself went to a hospital in the first place to request that a test be done, since he considered exposed to the virus due to the origin of his flight, and the length of his journey.

However, he says that he was denied the test, because he had no symptoms. Later, he travelled with his parents and other relatives to Fuerteventura, for a surprise party that was held two days later on the 29th.

This person flatly denies being patient zero, and as evidence, he alleges that within the study that Sanidad did to his family as a result of the first case, he was negative in the PCR test. And he has asked that this matter be clarified, because he fears that it will have consequences for him finding work.

Consulted again by Efe, the Ministry of Health has nuanced their story: in its first version he was included among the positives, but in reality he only appears as a suspect due to the health situation of the country from which he has arrived from, to Spain.

The other person who has contacted Efe is a female. She acknowledges that she was the first diagnosed, and says that still to this day she does not know how she was infected, whether it was at work, in her private daily life, or if it was at the family reunion on June 27th in Fuerteventura.

She also points out that in that meeting, "a surprise party", there were not 40 people as claimed, but "maybe fifteen or twenty."

This is the second family outbreak that has occured in the Canary Islands, says the Ministry. The previous one took place in Tenerife, where a man who had returned from the United States infected two of his relatives.
For the record, the Ministry of Health considers an outbreak to be three infections in the same family or area of ​​relationship.

Technically, the Canary Islands has two more outbreaks active, both in Fuerteventura, with 35 positives among the occupants of pateras that arrived on Canaries shores on June 14th and 18th, and which continue isolation in Puerto del Rosario, because the quarantine of the entire group has been extended as new diagnoses have emerged.

However, they are not considered to be a worrying case, because all their protagonists have been isolated from the moment they disembarked from the Maritime Rescue boat that rescued them, and have had no relationship with anyone outside their group of travelling companions.

As a consequence of what happened with the outbreak in Fuerteventura and Gran Canaria, the Ministry of Health has once again called for responsibility and respect for basic prevention measures, ie mask and distancing, also in family gatherings.

In this regard, take note that 40% of the outbreaks detected to date in Spain, have originated from family gatherings or parties, in which precautions are relaxed and relatives who have been separated are prone to kiss and hug.