THE first three Coronavirus cases have been reported in the south of the Costa Blanca, taking the total number in Spain to 213, with 22 of those in the Valencian region.
One of the unlucky trio, an entrepreneur from Orihuela, had just returned from the Milan Footwear Fair.
Another victim had also returned from Italy, where 107 people have died at the centre of Europe’s Covid-19 outbreak.
He was diagnosed at his home in Torremanzanas, 20 miles inland from Villajoyosa, where he remains quarantined.
The third victim, a young man, is in isolation in the General Hospital of Alicante. He hasn’t been to Italy, but it is understood that his family have.
Meanwhile an 82-year-old man in Biscay became Spain’s second coronavirus fatality last night after suffering from pneumonia.
The country’s first death in the outbreak was a 69-year-old man in Valencia, who succumbed to complications after being diagnosed.
Currently there are no plans to curtail any public events or cancel inbound flights to Elche or Corvera Airports.
It comes as nervous hoteliers and restaurateurs are bracing themselves for the devastating effect coronavirus could have on Spain’s tourism industry.
They are joined by tourist chiefs who fear a major hit to critical Semana Santa week, which heralds the start of the holiday season.
Data from travel analytics firm ForwardKeys shows international flights booked from the UK and the US were down almost 20% for a five-week period up until February 23.
Israel also announced it will place all travellers arriving from Spain into quarantine upon arrival, with the strict protocol also applied to Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.
With Semana Santa starting on April 5, businesses in Spain are worried about whether one of Spain’s busiest weeks will go ahead as normal.
A total of 14% of Spain’s Gross Domestic Product comes from tourism, according to the European Travel Commission.
It’s Executive Director Eduardo Santander said: “The impact of the virus on European tourism will be massive — we’re talking about big losses.”
But despite the surge in cases here, the UK authorities has yet to issue travel warnings to the country, as Spain has done with Italy.
The UK Foreign Office simply insists that travellers should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the Spanish authorities.
There’s talk that Valencia may not allow Atalanta to bring any of their football fans to the Champions League return leg next week.
One of the Valencian fans who travelled to Milan for the first leg of the round of 16 tie two weeks ago was confirmed last week to have contracted the disease.
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