Belgian prince tests positive for coronavirus after attending gathering in Spain


  • World
  • Sunday, 31 May 2020

BARCELONA (Reuters) - A nephew of Belgium's King Philippe, Prince Joachim, has tested positive for coronavirus after attending a party in Spain, which Spanish media said broke lockdown rules because of the number of people there.

The prince, 28, tested positive after attending the gathering in the southern city of Cordoba on May 26, a spokesperson for the Belgian Royal Palace said on Saturday.

The spokesperson said the palace could not confirm the number of people in attendance at the party. The palace said Joachim travelled to Spain from Belgium on May 24 for an internship and was still there.

El Pais newspaper said the prince, who is tenth in line to the Belgian throne, attended the party along with 26 other people.

This would be a breach of lockdown rules in the province of Cordoba, where the maximum number of people permitted to meet is currently 15.

Spanish police said they had launched an investigation into the incident and those who breached restrictions could face fines of between 600 and 10,000 euros.

All 27 people who attended the party are now in quarantine, Rafaela Valenzuela, the Spanish government's regional envoy in Cordoba, told a press conference on Saturday.

Valenzuela called the gathering "completely irresponsible" and said it could have caused an outbreak of infections, triggering a return to a stricter lockdown.

"I feel surprised and angry. An incident of this type stands out at a moment of national mourning for so many dead," she said.

As the government eases Spain's lockdown regulations, at one point some of the strictest in Europe, police have intervened in a series of cases of people flouting social distancing restrictions.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; Additional reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Frances Kerry)

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