A SPATE of new coronavirus outbreaks across Spain have been blamed on student trips to the Balearic Island of Mallorca.
Groups of students from different parts of Spain travelled to Mallorca between June 12 and June 18 to celebrate the end of examinations and the outbreak started after hundreds were partying on the island.
Some have tested positive on the island while others tested positive when they returned home to regions including Madrid, Andalucia, the Basque Country, Galicia and Valencia.
The Spanish government has asked for schools and authorities not to send any more students to the island until the outbreak is under control.
Who is affected?
More than 1,160 people have so far tested positive and the number of people in isolation has reached 5,126 – either in hotels on the islands or at home.
So far, most have shown light symptoms and some have been consistent with the Delta variant although an 18-year-old is in intensive care suffering from Covid-19.
In one hotel in Palma, 249 students are in isolation but El Pais newspaper reported that three had escaped.
They are being hunted by police.
Maria Antonia Font, head of public health in Mallorca, has ordered the forced isolation of students who came into contact with those who have tested positive. Police in Mallorca said they had detained 21 students at the airport who had tried to take a flight off the island.
What are people saying?
Health authorities in Mallorca have launched an investigation to find out if any venues where the students socialised broke Covid-19 restrictions.
Reports in the Spanish media have suggested that parties at a bullring, on boats and in hotels did not adhere to restrictions.
Meanwhile, the parents of some students who have been asked to quarantine in hotels in Mallorca have accused the Balearic Islands’ government of ‘kidnapping’ their children.
They say they have tested negative for coronavirus and should be allowed to return home to mainland Spain. Health authorities have so far said this is not possible.
Francina Armengol, the Balearic Islands’ president, tweeted: “We will not allow the irresponsibility of a few to put in danger the efforts of many.”
The Balearic Islands’ has one of the lowest 14-day coronavirus contagion rates in Spain at 69.82 per 100,000 people compared with the national rate of 100.06.
What happens next?
The outbreak comes days before British tourists were expected to arrive in Mallorca, Ibiza, Formentera and Menorca after the UK government put the Balearic Islands green travel list from 4am on June 30.
This means UK tourists do not have to go into quarantine on return to Britain.
However, the Spanish government has introduced new restrictions which mean that UK holidaymakers must show proof of receiving both vaccines or a negative PCR test on arrival in Spain.
This comes into action from Friday.
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