Coronavirus cases detected at Malaga Red Cross shelter rise to 90

Police officers outside the building where the cases were detected.
Police officers outside the building where the cases were detected. / Salvador Salas
  • The building has been closed and its occupants, mainly young migrants as well as staff and volunteers, have been quarantined

The number of cases of Covid-19 infection at an emergency shelter run by the Cruz Roja (Spanish Red Cross) in Malaga had reached 90 by Saturday, regional minister Elías Bendodo confirmed.

The Malaga case is the largest of nine isolated outbreaks in Andalucía, according to Bendodo.

The president of the Junta de Andalucía, Juanma Moreno, said on Saturday that while the outbreak at the Red Cross centre in Malaga was "alarming", it was "controlled and confined".

Of the 83 cases confirmed on Thursday, 74 were young migrants currently living at the centre and nine were members of staff and volunteers.

The building, located in the city’s Avenida Ortega y Gasset, has been sealed off and more than a hundred people are being quarantined inside.

They have been divided into sections according to their condition: those who are healthy, those who have no symptoms but have been in contact with patients infected; and those who have fallen ill. The centre is being guarded by National Police officers.

The alarm was raised on Sunday when a young woman living at the shelter was taken to hospital with symptoms similar to those of coronavirus.

The PCR test confirmed she had the virus, she was isolated and her contacts traced.

On Monday a second positive case at the shelter was confirmed, followed by seven more on Tuesday. By Thursday at midday SUR was able to confirm that at least 83 people had tested positive at the shelter.

Among those found to have the virus is a worker who travelled to Gran Canaria on 14 June. On 19 June he returned to Malaga via Madrid and Seville. It appears that when he went to the Canaries he was already infected but was unaware of his condition as he had no symptoms.

All of his contacts, including passengers on the flights he took, are being traced and tested according to established protocol.

Sources consulted by SUR stressed the speed with which the positive cases had been diagnosed and contacts isolated.

Most of the people in the centre who have tested positive are young migrants and none has been admitted to hospital.

The regional government’s delegate in Malaga, Patricia Navarro, said on Thursday that there was no cause for alarm, that the building was closed and guarded by the security forces.

She described the cases as a “cluster” rather than an outbreak and confirmed that more than 100 people were in isolation but none hospitalised.

“We are prepared for the new reality,” she said.