Four British people from the same family were admitted to Son Espases Hospital in Palma on Friday with possible symptoms of the coronavirus. Dr. Javier Murillas, head of internal medicine, said on Saturday that the father, about whom there is the greatest concern, is "completely asymptomatic". In other words, he as yet is not showing noticeable symptoms.
On Saturday, it was confirmed that all of them had been put in isolation as a precaution, because the father had been in contact with someone in France who was later diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“He came back to Majorca with his family and on the first day, which was the 29th of January, he had a little flu-like symptoms,” said Dr Eugenia Carandell, assistant director, IB-Salut. “He was worried when he found out that the person he met in France was diagnosed with the disease so he contacted the European System of Warning and the system wrote to the ministry of health in Spain, who contacted us to warn us that this person had contact with a person who has the disease,” she says.
Dr. Carandell explained that the father, mother and 7 year old daughter are all doing well, but that the 10 year old daughter has a fever.
“At the moment the child with fever is diagnosed positively with flu,” she confirmed. “She was tested on Friday, because we wanted to be sure when they came to the hospital, that it was flu and it is. We have taken throat analysis of all four family members and they’ve have been sent to Madrid to find out if any of them have the disease."
The results of coronavirus tests are usually known within 48 hours, so the hospital will find out for sure whether any of them have tested positive, later tonight or tomorrow at the latest.
The names of the family are not been released at the moment, but we do know that they are British expats who live in Majorca, and Dr. Carandell says more information will likely be made available if any of the family are found to have the disease.
At the moment there’s only one confirmed case of coronavirus in Spain. A German tourist was diagnosed in La Gomera in the Canary Islands after coming into contact with a Chinese citizen in Germany. Four of the victims friends have been tested and cleared but they will remain in isolation for 14 days in case they develop symptoms later.
Dr. Carandell says breathing problems are one of the main symptoms of the coronavirus.
“We know from Chinese studies that the symptoms are more like pneumonia than flu,” she says. “We know that many many cases are very light and most people who have flu-like symptoms or a cough usually get better very quickly. But I think there is global concern about the coronavirus, we must take care of the situation and be vigilant.
A number of people have bought masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but Dr. Carandell points out that there are other things people can do that are more important.
“People think they should wear masks, but there’s no reason to wear masks in the streets, it’s not necessary, this is not an epidemic,” she tells me. “The most important thing is to wash your hands. With coronavirus and with flu, the hands are the most contagious part of the body and a victim can infect another person with the virus just by touching them with his hands.”