BENIDORM’S high COVID-19 infection rate of 286 cases per 100,000 people could lead to ‘special measures’ being introduced in the Costa Blanca resort.
The warning came this Tuesday from Valencian Health Minister, Ana Barcelo, at a news conference to launch the region’s flu vaccination campaign.
The coronavirus infection rate in Benidorm is almost seven times higher than the national average.
That puts the municipality into an ‘extreme risk’ category for the spread of COVID-19.
Asked about the situation there, Barcelo said that she was ‘concerned’ and that ‘measures would be adopted if necessary to control the situation that the city presents’.
The minister did not expand on what the ‘measures’ would entail.
Last weekend, Valencian President, Ximo Puig, said that he did expect any changes to current measures across the region, despite COVID-19 case figures rising.
Benidorm area infections started going up from October 5 which roughly coincided with the arrival of increased numbers of fully-vaccinated UK tourists who no longer had to take any COVID tests in Spain before returning home.
The Centre for Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies said that increased UK tourism had caused the increase.
Ana Barcelo told reporters that 53% of infections came from foreign visitors to Benidorm.
That’s the first time that specific numbers had been given in regard to the impact on infections caused by international arrivals.
There was no breakdown though over which countries were responsible.
In a video statement on Monday, Benidorm mayor, Toni Perez said: “There are no incidents that I’ve heard about concerning tourist infections at hotels and apartments and there’s no reason to be alarmed as painstaking work has been carried out to prevent the virus spreading.”
Perez, and hotel association, Hosbec, both criticised the way that the infection rates were being calculated.
They’ve argued the figures are based on a registered population of 75,000 people while water consumption and sewage usage numbers suggest that 180,000 people are in the area.
Taking the higher population number, COVID cases would run at below 100 infections per 100,000.
Ana Barcelo said that the ‘varying’ population was difficult to work out and not even Benidorm council could work out exact numbers.
Image Credit: Communitat Valenciana