There have been no confirmed cases in Spain so far of the coronavirus, a deadly respiratory illness that first broke out in China and has spread. Here’s what you need to know.
How worried should I be?
There have been no confirmed cases in Spain at the time of writing.
There have been a number of suspected cases, including two in Barcelona and one in the Basque Country whose tests for the coronavirus came back negative.
A 52-year old man in Malaga is currently being tested for the virus after reporting flu-like symptoms. He said he had been in contact with people who had just travelled from Wuhan in China.
As in other countries, Spanish authorities are advising their citizens to avoid “unnecessary trips” to Wuhan or Hubei province, where the virus originated and is repatriating its nationals from the Wuhan district.
The Spanish government is evacuating around 20 Spanish citizens currently in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei region. They are being repatriated on a plane along with British nationals before flying from London to Madrid sometime on Friday.
The group will then be placed in quarantine in a Madrid hospital for 14 days undergoing repeated tests for signs of the illness.
Spain has allowed the Chinese football team Wuhan Zall to enter Spain in order to attend a training camp near Malaga, despite fears of spreading the coronavirus.
A cruise ship with some 6,000 passengers that docked in Barcelona and then Palma on the island of Mallorca has been put on lockdown after arriving in Rome after a passenger was investigated as a suspected case of the coronavirus.
Spanish airline Iberia has followed other airlines in cancelling its direct flights to and from China.
France on Friday became the first country in Europe to confirm cases of the coronavirus, and a case was confirmed in Germany on Tuesday.
What is coronavirus?
It’s a respiratory illness which belongs to the same family as the common cold.
The previously unknown virus has caused alarm because of its similarity to SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed hundreds across mainland China and Hong Kong in 2002-2003.
The outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan – which is an international transport hub – began at a fish market in late December and since then more than 100 people have died, including a doctor who was treating the victims.
What are the symptoms?
The initial symptoms are not dissimilar to the common flu, as the virus belongs to the same family, which is unfortunately probably going to lead to a certain amount of panic as Spain is currently in the midst of peak flu season.
The symptoms include a cough, headache, fatigue, fever, aching and difficulty breathing.
It is primarily spread through airborne contact or contact with contaminated objects.
Its incubation period is two to 14 days, with an average of seven days.
How can I protect myself?
As anyone who has ever tried to avoid getting the flu in winter will know, this is not always easy.
Health authorities recommend practising good hygiene, so washing your hands and using sanitizer gel regularly (particularly if you have been touching surfaces that many other people will have touched such as on public transport), using disposable tissues and throwing them away and covering your mouth with your elbow when you cough.
Chinese health authorities say the majority of the people who have died were either elderly or had underlying health problems.
What should I do if I think I have it?
If you think you have the illness, do not go to the hospital or your doctor’s surgery. Health authorities are worried about potentially infected people turning up at hospitals and passing on the virus.
In an emergency situation, you should always call the emergency number 112.
La gripe : This word is slightly problematic to English speakers because it is used to describe either end of the scale of the most common winter ailment from a bad cold to a full on nasty dose of the flu.
So “tengo gripe” can refer to “I have a bad cold” or “I have the flu”.
Los síntomas: the symptoms
una fiebre: fever
una tos: A cough.
Dolores musculares / mialgias: muscle aches or joint pains
dolor de cabeza / cefalea: headache
El coronvirus: the coronavirus
Published The Local 06 February 2020