More than one-third of the young people, who had gone to Spain for a party holiday with a youth travel organisation, and who tested negative before departure has now tested positive upon arrival in Belgium.
Hundreds of young people were brought back earlier by youth travel organisation Summer Bash after various travellers tested positive during several youth vacations in popular Spanish party destinations, and were tested again on Saturday at Ghent University Hospital, where the buses arrived.
“The results on Sunday show that 32 of the 88 young people [who previously tested negative] have tested positive for the coronavirus. We had expected that there would be more infections,” said Jordy S’Jongers of Summer Bash according to reports from De Standaard.
“In two days’ time, the number of infections had risen to 124 out of 350 participants, so we knew it could go very fast. We only put negative tested people on those two buses and we hope that there will be no more infections,” he added.
The travel organisation suspended all trips that were scheduled to depart before it decided to bring all travellers already abroad back to Belgium early.
Following their PCR test in Ghent, the young travellers went into quarantine, usually at their parents’ houses, for seven days if they tested negative, after which they will be tested again. Those who test positive have to go into isolation for ten days.
Last week, professor of family medicine Dirk Devroey said the young people should not be sent home to their parents, but to some kind of camp to quarantine, arguing that most infections occur within the family.
“If you let those young people be taken in by their parents now, you create one of the biggest sources of infection there is,” Devroey said, adding that keeping them together in “some kind of camp until they are no longer infected” is the best solution.
“That way, we can avoid 110 people, many of whom are probably super-spreaders, infecting a lot of other people,” he added.
Meanwhile, around 20 young Belgians who were part of the same group returned home by plane despite testing positive, as their parents bought them tickets after finding a loophole in the system.
Currently, under the Digital Covid Certificate mechanism, people living in Belgium returning from a red zone only have to present their Passenger Locator Form (PLF) upon arrival.
Those without a Covid Certificate have to be tested upon return in Belgium, and remain in quarantine until the result of the test is negative, which means that airline companies do not ask for a negative PCR test from Belgians who want to return home.