13 passengers on Lanzarote flight have been quarantined
Thirteen passengers from the Madrid flight that landed in Lanzarote yesterday, which was boarded by a traveller waiting for COVID-19 test results, have been quarantined, and one has been tested after showing symptoms.
This has been explained by the Minister of Health for the Canary Islands, Julio Pérez, who confirmed that the man had been advised not to fly before receiving his test results, and also that another passenger with symptoms was detected on the same flight, who has been taken straight to hospital for coronavirus tests.
The prevention protocol was activated mid-flight, when the Public Health department of the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, communicated the results of the coronavirus tests to members of a family from Ciudad Real, who had been in contact with a patient, his mother, who died with coronavirus.
Sources from the Canarian and Castilian-La Mancha governments have confirmed that the passenger who caused this alert, had travelled from Lanzarote to Ciudad Real to be with his mother for the last days of life, since the family had been notified that, the woman, who suffered from cancer, was already in a terminal phase.
Due to the severity of her illness, the son had no direct contact with his mother, who passed away on May 23rd, but he did have contact with his father and his brothers, who had had contact with her before she was subjected to isolation.
As a consequence, PCR tests were carried out on the entire family, including the son who arrived from Lanzarote.
At that point, health personnel told the man that he could not travel until he had the test results, confirmed the sources from the governments of Castilla-La Mancha and the Canary Islands.
However, the man took a flight from Madrid to Lanzarote on Friday morning, and shortly after, the results arrived. The Castilian-La Mancha Ministry of Health tried to contact him by phone, but when they couldn't locate him, they resorted to notifying his relatives.
They eventually managed to speak with the man's sister, and gave her the families test results over the phone, confirming that he had tested positive for coronavirus, and also that she had too, which was ironic as she was also waiting for a flight to a different part of Europe in the next few days.
The sister was able to contact the man and relay his test results to him, and he himself, informed cabin crew of his diagnosis, and they immediately moved him to the back of the plane wheere there were several rows of empty seats.
QUARANTINE OF OTHER PASSENGERS:
The thirteen people who have been subjected to isolation upon arrival in Lanzarote, are the passengers who occupied the two rows around him, and another passenger who he had been talking to, for about fifteen minutes at the airport.
In principle, the protocol stipulates that all of them serve 14 days of quarantine, while new tests are carried out.
For their part, the plane's crew returned to Madrid, after the aircraft was disinfected, as they did not have close contact with the passenger with coronavirus.
The director of the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, highlighted the speed with which it has acted, in just four hours, to identify this positive passenger in Covid-19 who traveled from Ciudad Real to Lanzarote.
The Canarian Minister of Health warned that legal proceedings will have to be initiated against this passenger, because he failed to comply with the mandate to wait for test results before travelling, acting irresponsibly and putting other people at risk.
ISOLATION IN AN APARTHOTEL:
The Lanzarote Cabildo offered the rest of the plane's passengers, the option of staying in an aparthotel in Puerto Del Carmen in conditions of voluntary isolation, in case they preferred to be away from their families for a while. Thirty-six travellers accepted the offer, according to a spokesperson for the Canary Islands Ministry of Health.
Until the state of alarm ends, flights from the Peninsula to the Canary Islands can only be taken by people who can prove that they are returning to their place of residence, are travelling for work, are going to take care of a relative, or have other acceptable causes such as force majeure. And, in addition, they have to make a statement about their health.
Fernando Simón says that the speed in handling the case at the Lanzarote airport is a good example because: "It has been dealt with well and very quickly".
The Canary Islands are proposing tests in all communities to its residents before travelling.