A British woman who tested positive for coronavirus at the Tenerife hotel where hundreds of tourists were placed in quarantine last week had been mixing with other guests for more than a week.
Canary Islands authorities say the British holidaymaker was confirmed as a virus patient yesterday and is now in hospital.
She becomes the sixth person to be infected at the H10 Costa Adeje Palace, following five Italians including the doctor and his wife who first sparked the scare.
Authorities are now trying to work out how the infection could have occurred. Dozens of Britons have already returned to the UK after testing negative.
Health chiefs in the Canary Islands confirmed the sixth person to test positive at the Tenerife hotel is a British woman who was mixing with other guests for more than a week.
A spokeswoman for the regional health authority admitted the unnamed Brit had not been confined to her room for most of her week-long stay at the hotel, like other guests who were showing no symptoms of the virus and were only ordered to remain in their rooms on the day after the first tourist tested positive.
The revelation will be a cause of concern to British tourists who were trapped in the hotel for several days before being allowed to fly home.
A British woman has tested positive for coronavirus at the Tenerife hotel (pictured) where hundreds of tourists were placed in quarantine last week
Tourists look through a window of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hotel, which was placed on lockdown over a virus scare last week
A bus carrying British tourists coming from the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel to the airport yesterday afternoon
The sixth case was announced yesterday and confirmed by the BBC and Sky News today to be a British holidaymaker.
A spokesman for the regional health authority confirmed yesterday evening: ‘This latest case is a guest at the hotel who was being monitored but does not belong to the initial group of Italians.
‘An investigation is underway to determine the source of the infection.
‘As with the other five, this person has been transferred to a hospital to be quarantined.
‘The other people who have tested positive remain in a good state of health.’
A sixth person has tested positive for coronavirus at the Tenerife hotel where British holidaymakers have been trapped (a guest gives the thumbs up from the window of the hotel)
Regional health chiefs also confirmed 193 people had left the hotel by 6pm local time yesterday.
They include locals living on the island and foreign holidaymakers who had tested negative for coronavirus and were showing no symptoms of the virus.
British holidaymakers who checked into the H10 Costa Adeje Palace after the first Italians to test positive were taken to hospital, were given permission to start leaving on Thursday.
Tour operators Jet2 and Tui both arranged flights for their customers who had tested negative to return home.
Passengers on flight LS9010 from Tenerife landed at Manchester last night, and were pictured walking through arrivals wearing face masks.
The tourists had expected to be stuck in the resort until March 10 after four guests were found to be infected, but have now been allowed to leave.
Britons have been advised to ‘self-isolate’ in the UK until March 10 anyway, but are not being taken into quarantine in the Wirral – unlike British returnees from China and the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
One of the confirmed cases in the UK, a parent at a Buxton primary school in Derbyshire, is known to have contracted the virus in Tenerife.
Regional health chiefs said on Sunday that tourists who checked in after February 24 could leave as long as they fulfilled three key conditions which included their home countries ‘guaranteeing’ their safe return and their continued monitoring.
A spokesman on the island said: ‘They can leave the hotel and fly home as long as they fulfil these three conditions.
‘The conditions are that they must be showing no symptoms of the virus, test negative in an analysis carried out 24 hours earlier, and their home nations must establish their return mechanisms and guarantee the continuity of their treatment once they return.’
More than 120 people now have coronavirus in Spain. Madrid is the worst affected area with 29 cases.
The Canary Islands president has promised there would no be repeat of the quarantine in the event of a new coronavirus outbreak at another large hotel in the area.
It came as Britons cleared of infection were free to leave and landed at Manchester airport last night
British holidaymakers who checked into the H10 Costa Adeje Palace after the first Italians to test positive were taken to hospital, were given permission to start leaving last Thursday.
Those who were already in the hotel when the Italians were still there, were initially told they must stay till March 9.
But on Sunday regional health chiefs said tourists who checked in after February 24 could leave as long as they fulfilled three key conditions which included their home countries ‘guaranteeing’ their safe return and their continued monitoring.
Regional health chiefs confirmed 193 people had left the hotel by early Tuesday afternoon, though it said more departures were planned for later in the day.
A spokesman for the Canary Islands’ regional health authority confirmed in a statement that all six people who had been staying at the hotel, the British woman and the five Italians, were in ‘a good state of health.’
It said: ‘The last case was confirmed yesterday/on Monday.
‘It’s a British woman, one of the guests at the hotel in the south of Tenerife, who has been hospitalised and isolated.
‘She was and still is showing no signs of any symptoms and tested positive during the periodic tests that were being carried out inside the hotel where restrictive measures were in operation since Monday of last week.
‘This person, who did not form part of the initial group of ten Italians where the first cases occurred, checked into the hotel on February 23 and the regional health authority is still investigating her direct and close contacts.’
A spokesman said the British woman who had just tested positive had not been in isolation at the hotel because she had been showing none of the symptoms associated with coronavirus.
Passengers on flight LS9010 from Tenerife landed at Manchester last night, and were pictured walking through arrivals wearing face masks
On Sunday regional health chiefs said tourists who checked in after February 24 could leave as long as they fulfilled three key conditions which included their home countries ‘guaranteeing’ their safe return and their continued monitoring (arrivals at Manchester airport last night)
After a first day of confusion last Tuesday in which guests were ordered to stay in their rooms after the first Italian tested positive, guests without coronavirus symptoms were told they could move freely around the hotel as long as they fulfilled certain conditions like wearing face masks.
Dr Bharat Pankhania, senior clinical lecturer at University of Exeter Medical School, claimed at the time the situation at the Tenerife hotel was ‘another Diamond Princess in the making’.
Canary Islands President Angel Victor Torres confirmed on Tuesday there would no repeat of the H10 Costa Adeje Palace quarantine if authorities faced a similar situation in a local hotel.
He defended the lockdown decision last week on the basis that it was in line with the advice of Spain’s Ministry of Health at the time.
But he added: ‘Tourists want to know, if they come to the Canary Islands and coronavirus occurs in the hotel they’re staying at, if they’re going to be quarantined for 14 days.
‘I can tell you that with the experience we’ve acquired in this case, other decisions would be taken.’
Infectious diseases specialist Javier Arranz said last week people who had not been in close contact with those who tested positive for the killer virus and were showing no symptoms, would be allowed to return home if there was a similar scenario in the Balearic Islands.
Mr Arranz, who is part of a regional Balearic Islands committee monitoring the coronavirus spread, rejected a major lockdown of British tourists in any coronavirus hotel outbreak in the popular holiday islands in an interview with Majorcan daily newspaper Diario de Mallorca.
He said: ‘With the co-operation of the hotel management and its employees, we will do detective work to identify which other people the infected person has been in contact with when that person had symptoms of a respiratory disease.’
‘Active monitoring of those people who had close contact would be maintained for 14 mandatory days but no-one would be quarantined.
‘The people who have not been in close contact with the person who tested positive and are showing no symptoms can lead a normal life and even return home to their own countries.’