The coronavirus outbreak at a Tenerife hotel worsened last night as the number of patients doubled from two to four.
Two more Italian tourists were quarantined in a Spanish hospital after testing positive for the killer virus which was brought to the resort by an Italian doctor.
Hundreds of guests including Britons remain in limbo today with the hotel in quarantine and holidaymakers confined to their bedrooms.
Canary Islands president Angel Victor Torres announced last night that the tourists would have to remain in the H10 Costa Adeje Palace until further notice.
It opens up the prospect of British tourists having to spend two weeks in quarantine at the hotel, even though some guests fear it will make them more vulnerable to the bug.
Authorities are still awaiting confirmatory test results today on the Italian doctor and his wife who initially tested positive and triggered the scare in Tenerife.
A Spanish police officer sets up a barrier blocking the road to the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife yesterday as the complex was locked down over coronavirus fears
Tourists look out from the balcony of their hotel room in Tenerife yesterday after guests were kept inside the building to contain the spread of the virus
Hotel guests and staff stand outside the building yesterday after entrances and exits were sealed off by Spanish authorities
Torres said the Italian doctor – believed to have stayed for six days – flew to Tenerife on February 17 and took a bus to the hotel.
The regional president confirmed that authorities are still waiting for the results of second tests carried out in Madrid on the doctor and his wife, but expected them to come back positive.
The doctor was part of a group of 10 Italians who were the first of the hotel guests to be tested for coronavirus.
According to Spanish media, the two new patients are also Italian nationals who were part of the doctor’s travelling party.
Another 23 Italians were the next group to be tested and tests on the remaining guests were still going on Tuesday night.
Torres said around 100 tourists who had checked in on Monday and had no contact with the Italian doctor and his wife could leave today.
He added: ‘The others will have to be subject to active individual monitoring.’
Closed: The H10 Costa Adeje Palace is being guarded by police. Guests were confined to their bedrooms at the four-star hotel in a desperate attempt to stop the virus from spreading
Waiting for news: Crowds outside the hotel in Tenerife. Last night, it was revealed most of the guests will be ‘subject to active individual monitoring’
Domingo Nunez, head of epidemiology at the Canary Islands Health Service, defended the decision to keep the hotel on lockdown last night.
Using the word ‘quarantine’ which authorities had been avoiding all day, he said: ‘We are convinced there wasn’t another option to the measures that were adopted, at least as an initial measure of contention against the spread of the virus.
‘It was necessary to establish the initial hotel quarantine.’
Setting out the immediate future for most of the holidaymakers currently in the hotel, he added: ‘Guests will have to stay in the hotel without leaving the hotel.
‘Those who have symptoms will be evaluated and will stay in the hotel without leaving their rooms and depending on the results of the tests and whether they test positive or negative, a further decision would then be taken.
‘If they tested positive they would be transferred to hospital.
‘The people who are not showing any symptoms can move freely inside the hotel, although under certain conditions such as using the facemarks which are now available.
‘But they still won’t be able to leave the hotel.
‘Once we have new information, we will come to a consensus with the Ministry of Health about what we’re going to do.
‘But at the moment the situation and the outlook is that people will have to stay inside the hotel.’
Hotel bosses also announced the Costa Adeje Palace was closing until the middle of March to ‘guarantee the safety of guests and staff.’
Trapped: Elaine Whitewick and Jayney Brown (pictured together) are among dozens of Britons believed to be in lockdown at the Canary Islands hotel
Escaped: Anthony Wilkins with his girlfriend Sheila Taylor and her daughters Charlotte and Jess. Officials told Anthony Wilkins, 60, that his stay at the hotel had coincided with the Italian carriers’
The hotel’s external doors were padlocked shut yesterday as dozens of police officers guarded its entrances after the alert was triggered.
Letters were placed under the doors of the hotel’s 500 rooms telling guests that the hotel had been ‘closed down’ and that guests ‘must remain’ in their rooms.
While some guests were served breakfast in their bedrooms in an attempt to enforce the curfew, many others ignored the stay-put advice and started to roam around.
Those willing to venture out into the ‘ghost town’ were able to eat breakfast at a buffet and use the hotel’s sun-lounging areas, while a makeshift distribution station was set up for bottled water.
Guests yesterday expressed concerns that hundreds of holidaymakers may have already come into contact with the infected couple before travelling to their homes across Europe.
Around 30 Brits travelling with TUI are known to be in the hotel. Officials say the guests come from 25 nationalities including Belgians, Dutch and Brits.
Since the weekend Spain has gone from having no current confirmed cases of coronavirus to seven – the four in Tenerife, one in Barcelona, one in Castellon and another in Madrid.
British couple David Hoon and Pamela Scott (pictured together) say they fear that ‘we stand more chance of catching the coronavirus’ during the hotel lockdown
Holidaymakers stand on their balconies, some of them speaking on their phones, as they wait for news during the lockdown yesterday
One guest posted this picture of a padlock on a door of the hotel, with a police vehicle parked outside to enforce the quarantine
People outside a Tenerife hotel today after it was sealed off amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak in Spain, after an Italian visitor tested positive yesterday
A letter from Tenerife hotel staff telling guests including British tourists to stay in their rooms after an Italian visitor tested positive for coronavirus
Those who remained inside their rooms complained of going hungry and being forced to survive on snacks with little information about what was happening.
Face masks were initially distributed to the hotel’s staff members, prompting complaints that guests had been left with no protection from further spread.
The situation was only later resolved when the owner of a meat company delivered 1,000 masks and 200 gloves for worried guests.
As health staff arrived to carry out tests at the hotel yesterday, a notice attached to the back gate of the hotel read: ‘Entrance forbidden to people not authorised.’
A British holidaymaker who recently returned from the hotel yesterday criticised the UK’s ‘confusing’ health advice and described how he had been gripped with worry since returning to the UK.
Officials told Anthony Wilkins, 60, that his stay at the hotel had coincided with the Italian carriers’.
But since returning to the UK on a Jet2 flight on Sunday with his girlfriend Sheila Taylor, 47, and her two daughters, they have received wildly conflicting advice.
Employees wearing protective masks arrange water bottles in the lobby of the hotel
An employee wears a protective mask as he talks with guests inside the quarantined hotel
Spanish police officers stand outside the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel in Tenerife
The salesman said: ‘The last thing I want is to be blamed for spreading this around. The advice so far has been terrible.’
Mr Wilkins, from Carlisle, called the NHS 111 number and was told that there is no need to go into ‘self-isolation’ because he had not presented symptoms.
Despite raising concerns, Miss Taylor has been advised to turn up at the NHS hospital where she works as a theatre nurse despite advice from her GP to remain in isolation.
Mr Wilkins said: ‘I am 99.9 per cent sure that we don’t have the virus and are not panicking or dramatising. But I don’t want to get on a train and possibly start spreading the virus.’
Holidaymaker Elaine Whitewick, who is away with friend Jayney Brown, shared videos on Facebook showing police outside the hotel.
She said: ‘This is what we’ve been offered. Just water. We’ve been told we’ve got to go back to our rooms.’
Nigel Scotland, another guest, estimated that ‘500 or 600 people must have left the hotel and gone back to various places in Europe’ during the infected doctor’s stay.
British guest David Hoon, 60, from Matlock, Derbyshire, said: ‘Nobody is telling us what’s going on. The way this has been handled is a disgrace.’
A team of doctors will remain at the hotel round-the-clock for the time being. Psychologists will also form part of the response team.
A Foreign Office spokesman said that its staff were offering advice and support to a number of British people at the hotel and their families.