In a sign of global panic over coronavirus spreading to the Costa, mobile communications giant Ericsson told 200 staff at its Malaga PTA tech park offices to work from home on Wednesday. Bosses feared that one of the workers might have been infected.
The company took action after a confirmed case of coronavirus at Ericsson’s Croatian base. One of the employees had been working there recently and the firm did not want to take any chances until she had been tested.
“With the work we do it’s quite easy to work remotely, so it’s not going to be a huge upset,” said one employee.
Meanwhile, groups of Costa pupils on study trips to Italy have been cutting short their visits because of the outbreak of coronavirus in the north of the country. February is a popular time for schools to take pupils away and this week has been half-term. Organising travel agents have said there were some ten local school groups in Italy this week.
The first schools back were Santa Rosa de Lima and El Atabal, in Malaga city. They had been forced to cut out cities in the north, including Venice, from their itinerary and parents were concerned as events unfolded.
“More than worry about contagion, it’s the fact that measures could be taken at any moment to restrict movement. We thought the sensible option was to come back,” said the head teacher at Santa Rosa de Lima school, which had 78 pupils and three teachers in Italy.
“We’ve been coming to Italy for 17 years, and this time we’ve been surprised by fewer people than usual in the streets of Rome,” said a teacher from El Atabal school, which had 42 pupils in Italy.
Some Erasmus university students from Malaga who are in Italy have also decided to leave, faced with worried parents. On Tuesday, student Curro Marfil said from Malaga Airport, “Because of fears the borders could be closed, I’ve decided to come home.” The University of Malaga said it has 138 Erasmus students in Italy.
However a teacher at Europa school in Malaga said from Italy, “The news coming from Spain is alarming when here everything is quite calm.”
Even so, the group has felt obliged to return early.