A Canary Islands tourist spot has closes its beaches immediately after being hit by second wave of coronavirus
The holiday island of El Hierro in the Canaries has shut down its beaches immediately after suffering its first serious outbreak of coronavirus in months.
El Hierro was one of the few places in Spain to escape the pandemic, registering only a handful of cases and no deaths.
But the second wave of the virus has hit at least 40 people and led local authorities to take urgent action now rather than wait for the situation to worsen.
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Local president Alpidio Armas today announced new preventive measures which include a ban on using bathing areas on the island.
The measures imposed immediately also include closure of public spaces, restriction of access to residences for the elderly, suspension of all kinds of cultural, social and sports activities organised by the island’s government, closure of libraries and educational centres.
Parks and markets have also been closed, along with children’s play areas, parks and squares.
Mr Armas said: “Early intervention has been shown to be a fundamental tool to prevent the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus in El Hierro.
“In this sense, health protection measures have been issued, within each area of competence, in order to reduce and prevent risky contacts between citizens in relation to COVID-19.”
The island is the second smallest of the popular Canaries but attracts tourists looking for a more serene holiday in stunning surroundings.
Health chiefs are devastated at the outbreak after largely managing to keep the virus at bay.
They said they are taking decisive action to prevent further spread.
It comes as health officials also ordered the immediate lockdown of another Spanish tourist town after admitting they have lost control over outbreaks.
The tough new restrictions will come into place in Benigànim in the mountain region of Valencia today and remain in place for at least 14 days.
The spot is about 60 miles from the popular coastal holiday resort of Benidorm.
The 6,000 residents are being told not to travel unless absolutely essential, face-to-face educational activity is suspended and senior centre, gyms and restaurants are closed.
The Canaries had low rates of cases and deaths in the first wave of the virus, which hit Spanish cities including Madrid particularly hard.
But some areas are contending with new spikes.
Lanzarote and Gran Canaria have warned of localised lockdowns if the level doesn’t drop.
Today, the archipelago added another 297 cases, bringing the total number to 7,106, putting the rate at 329.99 per 100,000 people.
El Hierro has also called for security reinforcements and army personnel to help with disinfecting of public areas.
Gran Canaria has had 3,702 cases of coronavirus of which 2,899 are still active, representing over two-thirds of cases in the Canaries.
Tenerife has had 2,380 cases of which 782 are still active, three times less than the active cases in Gran Canaria.
Lanzarote has 429 active cases, Fuerteventura has 121 active cases, La Palma 22 and La Gomera has six.
Canaries president, Angel Victor Torresm says the islands are doing all they can to head off more lockdowns, with the next ten to 14 days being crucial to see if extensive new regulations will dent the figures.