Belgium's Prince Joachim apologises for Spanish lockdown party

Belgium's Prince Joachim apologises for Spanish lockdown party

Belgium's Prince Joachim has issued a public apology following news that he tested positive for Covid-19 after he attended a party in Spain, in violation of the country's lockdown.

In a statement sent to Spanish news agency EFE, the 28-year old prince acknowledged "not having respected all quarantine measures."

In a message sent via email through his lawyer, Joachim said that he "fully accepted the consequences" of his actions.

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"I would like to apologise for not having respected all the quarantine measures during my trip. In these difficult moments, I did not mean to offend or disrespect anybody," the email read, according to Spanish media.

On Saturday, news broke that Joachim tested positive for the new coronavirus (Covid-19) after he attended a lockdown party in the southern city of Córdoba, in Andalucía.

The national police are investigating the party, attended by 27 people and which violate the lockdown measures in Spain, which is nearing three months under one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe.

The event caused a stir in Spanish media after it was reported that an unidentified foreign European prince had arrived in Spain on 24 May and that he was attending the Andalusian party.

According to La Vanguardia, Joachim, who is King Philippe's nephew, flew to Madrid on a commercial flight and was allowed into the country despite the border regulations because he is doing an internship for a local company.

In another violation of Spain's lockdown rules, De Standaard reports that he did not observe the mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving from abroad, "immediately" taking a train to Andalusía.

Following news that he tested positive for the virus, which has so far killed more than 27,000 people in Spain, Joachim and the other 26 attendants are meant to go into mandatory self-isolation.

Local authorities expressed indignation over the events, with Rafaela Valenzuela, a representative of the local government in Córdoba, saying that such actions "put at risk everything that we have achieved during the state of alarm."

"Now that we are, for the first time, cornering the pandemic, we cannot lock up in a house with 40 or 50 people in a party," Andalusian president, Juanma Moreno, said. "Because if one person is infected, they can infect the rest."

On Sunday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that the nationwide state of alarm would be prolonged for the sixth time until late June, saying Spain was about to reach its goal of completely ending the lockdown, in place since mid-March.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times 

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