At least eight young people from the West-Flanders province who went on a party vacation in Spain returned to Belgium infected with the coronavirus, the holiday organisation confirmed.
The group of young people returned from Lloret de Mar on Sunday, and were all tested on Monday as Belgium considers the region a red zone.
"We have tested all the young people who return ourselves, or we ask that they have a PCR test done. We want to be sure about who does or does not test positive for Covid," Jordy S'Jongers of the Summer Bash organisation said on Flemish radio.
On Monday evening, it turned out that at least eight people were already infected. However, they were spread over several holiday homes in groups of ten, and spent 17 hours on the bus together with the entire group, so it is likely that more infections will surface over the coming days.
"It is true that a group of young people from the Waregem (West-Flanders) region have returned infected," he said, adding that they must have contracted the infections there, as they were negative when they left on their trip.
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"Not that many young people have returned from their holidays yet, so we do not know all the infections yet," said S'Jongers, adding that a large testing moment will be organised at all destinations the organisation travels to.
"Based on that, we will decide whether we will continue our trips or not," he added. "If it turns out that the number of infections is high, we might have to decide to cancel our trips in Spain or Portugal for a few weeks."
Additionally, travel organisation Jongerentravel on Tuesday morning decided to cancel all departures to Spain, until at least the end of July, due to the rapidly rising infection rate in the country.
"Many tears are flowing from the hundreds of young people we have to let know that we are cancelling their trip," Katrien Corens of Jongerentravel told Het Nieuwsblad. "We do not want to contribute to new sources of infection."
The cancellation a "bitter pill," because the urge of many young people to travel to Spain this summer was "insanely" high, according to Corens.
"The last-minute reservations never went as fast as this year. Last weekend alone, 140 young people registered with us for a trip to Spain," she said. "For many, it was the dream destination for this summer."