Brits among 130 guests able to leave coronavirus-hit Tenerife hotel

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

British tourists are among 130 guests who are able to leave the coronavirus-hit Tenerife hotel that is on lockdown, after holidaymakers tested positive for the virus.

Around 50 Brits staying at the four-star H10 Costa Adeje Palace in the south-west of the Spanish island have been told they can leave by Spanish authorities.

A statement from the Foreign Office said: "We are urgently seeking clarification from the Canary Island authorities following their announcement that 130 tourists of different nationalities will be granted permission to leave the Costa Adeje Palace Hotel.

"We continue to offer support to all British nationals at the hotel."

Those who can leave are understood to have arrived on Monday, after the guests who were diagnosed had already left.

Overall, 130 guests from 11 countries have been told they can leave.

People wearing gowns and masks in the hotel complex. Credit: Chris Betts

A guest staying at the hotel in Tenerife has told ITV News the hotel is a "petri dish" of germs and some holidaymakers are ignoring quarantine rules.

Some 168 Brits are among hundreds of guests still being kept at the four-star hotel, after at least four guests, including an Italian doctor, tested positive for coronavirus.

Currently 447 people in Italy, mainly in the north of the country, have developed Covid-19, and 14 people have died.

Italy has become the worst affected country in Europe.

Police guard the entrance to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace. Credit: AP

There are now 16 coronavirus cases in the UK, after two people were diagnosed in England and the first case was reported in Northern Ireland.

One of the cases in England is understood to be a parent from Burbage Primary School who caught the disease in Tenerife.

The two patients in England have been taken to specialist units at the Royal Liverpool Hospital and the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Meanwhile, two Brits are among eight people being monitored on board a cruise ship that was turned back by the Dominican Republic.

A joint statement by the Public Health Ministry and Port Authority on the island said the captain of the Braemar, which is carrying around 1,500 people, reported four Filipinos, two British citizens and two US citizens were under medical observation for symptoms such as fever, coughing, or breathing difficulty.

One of the latest patients is being kept at the Royal Liverpool Hospital. Credit: PA

All of those on site at the Tenerife hotel were initially told to stay in their rooms but local authorities have now said people without symptoms can move around the hotel, including to the pool and bar.

The Spanish Health Ministry has described the outbreak as a "controlled" situation which does not increase the risk to the general population.

It has emerged that another group of guests from northern Italy, who were later confirmed to be infected, were staying in the hotel last week but have returned home.

Guests have been allowed outside of their room and can walk around the hotel complex. Credit: AP

While the lockdown on the hotel is being strictly adhered to - no one is allowed to leave or enter the complex - inside the hotel guests told ITV News they did not believe the quarantine was being properly enforced.

They said guests were even continuing to share service spoons at buffet mealtimes.

Social media photos show guests not wearing face masks and another guest said an aqua gym class was held on Thursday morning in the hotel pool.

Steve McHardy, 53, an estate agent from Kinross, in eastern Scotland, and his wife Susan, also 53, are among those stuck in the hotel.

Mrs McHardy told ITV's Lorraine they will need to stay in Tenerife for at least 14 days.

She added: "We didn't go out in the beginning but yesterday we went to reception - you are allowed to go out with your masks on.

"At the beginning, we were getting food parcels put to our rooms, but now the only food you can get is at the restaurant so we have to go out now."

Some guests have not been wearing face masks inside the hotel. Credit: AP

TV doctor Hilary Jones criticised the quarantine measures at the hotel.

He said if somebody was diagnosed on the last day of the 14-day quarantine, the 14-day period would need to start again.

He added: "At the moment, what's happening in that hotel is not self-isolation because people are sunbathing round the pool, going to the restaurant - you are in a mass quarantine together.

"My worry, and your worry, will be this - that on day 14 when you are ready to come home and somebody tests positive, you're back in quarantine for another 14 days because you will have been exposed."

Mrs McHardy said the couple want to come home, even if it meant staying in isolation for another 14 days once back in the UK.

The quarantine measures have been criticised. Credit: AP

The Foreign Office has no current plans to evacuate the Britons but is keeping the quarantine measures under review with Spanish authorities, and the Consulate in Tenerife has distributed letters to those affected.

Professor Yvonne Doyle, medical director at Public Health England, said: "Public Health England has sent a health protection specialist to Tenerife to work with the Spanish authorities to better understand the public health measures that have been put in place in the hotel.

"This includes understanding spread of the virus within the hotel and how the Spanish authorities are monitoring the situation."

Two security perimeters remain around the hotel, while a "field hospital" has been set up to treat anybody with coronavirus symptoms.

Despite hotel guests being in lockdown, holidaymakers who have already returned from the hotel are not being screened for the virus.

Anthony Wilkins and his partner flew home from a holiday at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hours before the quarantine and the pair questioned why they were not being tested.

"What's the difference between us who were there 24 hours earlier and the people still left in the hotel?" Mr Wilkins asked.

"Why can't we be tested just so we know for sure that we are a) OK, and b) that we're not going to spread this around?"