The investigative authorities in western Spain have been searching diligently all week for a group of Dutch tourists who fled after some of them tested positive for the corona virus. The Dutch were obliged to isolate themselves in their accommodation, but left with the northern sun. Ignoring the quarantine rules carries a fine of up to 60,000 euros. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not involved in the search, a spokesperson said.
The Dutch group, whose identity is as yet unknown, spent the past week in a holiday home in Navas del Madroño, with a population of 1,300 inhabitants, about half an hour’s drive from the Portuguese border. At least five Dutch people tested positive for the corona virus last Tuesday. That happened after a visit to Monfragüe National Park, one of the fifteen national parks in Spain.
The Dutch were subsequently told by the health service that they had to quarantine for ten days to protect themselves and others. They were supposed to do this in a detached country house outside the city, but to the chagrin of the authorities, the Dutch probably left by car and their current whereabouts have been unknown since then.
We are one step away from the coronavirus outbreak again
The regional government has spread an international alarm and informed the Ministry of Health, the mayor tells Antena 3. He calls it ‘surreal’ that the group seems to have run off. A health expert associated with the local government speaks of a ‘very serious violation’ of the corona rules. For the time being, no photos or names of the Dutch have been distributed. It is not clear whether the authorities are considering this. In any case, the warning message was broadcast on TV.
The Spanish Minister of Health and Social Policy José María Vergeles fears that the group of Dutch people could cause a major corona outbreak in the western region of Extremadura. He calls on residents to adhere to the hygiene measures and corona rules in force. “We are one step away from the new outbreak of the corona virus,” Vergeles said in a national newspaper.
“I am concerned about the speed and uncontrolled growth of the virus that is currently reappearing in our country. Either we adhere to the rules as a country or it will have consequences in the near future and everyone in Spain will be inside for Christmas.”
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The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it is ‘not familiar with this case’. The Dutch also did not submit a request for consular assistance. A spokesperson does not want to respond substantively to the violation, but would like to emphasize in general that all Dutch people abroad must adhere to the applicable measures.
There is a lot of confusion in the Spanish media about the exact size of the group. Most Spanish newspapers report fourteen Dutch people. The great Spanish medium El Mundo states, however, that it concerns eight Dutch people, one of whom would have stayed behind. A Spaniard would also be involved.
It is suspected that the Dutch have long left the country. According to the health minister, that must have happened with the car. Due to the warning message, the Dutch are no longer able to pass passport control at the airports, he says.
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