Court releases 175 students in isolation in Mallorca who have not tested positive

Judge partly overturns Balearic Government resolution that kept youths in quarantine at Hotel Palma Bellver

Alba Tarragó/Maria Llull
3 min
One of the students confined to the hotel Palma Bellver.

A Palma court has overturned the resolution of the Balearic Government that had put the young people on holiday in Mallorca considered close contacts of covid-19 cases in isolation. Specifically, the judge only maintains quarantine for 68 out of the 249 students who remained in the Hotel Palma Bellver, those who have tested positive. She considers that the measure "is not proportionate" for the 175 young people who have tested negative nor for those who have not yet undergone a test, because isolation "limits a fundamental right".

The judge argues that the government has not proved that those who have not tested positive are close contacts of infected young people. In addition, the magistrate asks the Balearic Government to inform the court every five days of the evolution of the situation of each of those affected by the measure to monitor their condition and determine whether it is necessary to maintain their quarantine. This resolution can still be appealed at the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands.

The Government had moved to the covid hotel Palma Bellver a total of 249 young mainland Spaniards who had had direct or indirect relationship with the huge outbreak that has caused more than a thousand cases and spread to different regions across the country.

13 fled before the resolution

The vice president of the Balearic Government, Juan Pedro Yllanes, acknowledged on Tuesday that 13 students had escaped from the hotel Palma Bellver before the court ruling that allows those who have not tested positive to leave. Yllanes has made a statement on LaSexta's Al Rojo Vivo, and has also pointed out that the executive does not know where these young people have gone to, although he has indicated that there are 12 from Andalusia and one from Madrid. The word "escape" is complicated for me," the vice president said, wanting to soften the tone when the presenter of the programme asked him. "Indeed, in the hotel there is private custody and police custody, but we do not think of it as a situation of absolute closure and under police surveillance 24 hours so that no one could move," he explained. "There has been a possibility of moving, but we don't know the destinations," he admitted.

In fact, two students fled Palma Bellver last night, at around 9.30 pm, while a patrol of the Palma Local Police guarded the hotel. Police sources admit "it is quite striking" that they did not detect the escape, but explain that they were there to avoid the nuisance the students had caused the neighbours the night before. "It is not us who keep surveillance of those in isolation", they point out the same sources. The Ministry of Health maintains security agents in the hotel to ensure that young people respect the quarantine and the National Police also "drops by the area" or turns up if required, as reported by sources in the police force. Be that as it may, none of them could prevent two students leaving the hotel last night, as advanced by Antena 3 and confirmed by the National Police to ARA Balears.

The two escapees had the help of a woman linked to anti-vaccine movements and managed to elude the hotel's security checkpoint at a time when, supposedly, there was no police patrol. In the images recorded by the state television channel you can see how the woman telling the media "young people should be held no longer" and that "they leave voluntarily because they are free".

Unguarded facade

Local police sources warn that their action is concentrated "in the back of the hotel, especially", which was where it was detected that bars in the area were supplying alcohol to those in isolation. "But this hotel has two fronts and it may be that we went at the other side," they explain in reference to the escape. The National Police has confirmed that one of the young men has returned hours later to the hotel voluntarily, while the other is staying with family acquaintances.