The Public Prosecutor's Office, against the lockdown of students in Mallorca
Palma Police had to act in the hotel where they are isolated because they were bringing up alcohol with buckets tied with sheets
PalmaThe prosecutorJaime Guasp Ferrer has sent on Tuesday a letter to the contentious administrative court number 3 of Palma opposing the lockdown of the young students affected by the mass covid-19 outbreaks originating in student trips that continue in the Islands. Between tomorrow and the day after tomorrow the court will have to rule on the resolution of the Balearic Government to curb the wave of contagions, but the Prosecutor maintains that the measures "are not fully justified or proportionate in accordance with current legislation". After receiving the prosecutor's brief, the court has requested more information to Francina Armengol's executive, according to sources at the High Court of Justice of the Balearic Islands (TSJIB).
The mass outbreaks total 1,281 positives in young people in eight communities (1,128 of them in Mallorca alone) and nearly 5,000 close contacts have been identified. One of the students infected with covid-19 who participated in a study trip in Mallorca, 18 years old, is currently in the ICU of a hospital in Elche, according to sources from the Ministry of Health of the Valencian Country. Although 90% of the young people who participated in the events where the outbreaks began have already returned home, the prosecutor argues that those who remain isolated in island hotels are only doing so for having participated in a "field trip". "It is strange that other groups have not been considered suspects or contacts, such as workers in the hotel leisure establishments or the other customers who enjoyed the hotels or leisure facilities they shared with the students", he adds.
The Ministry of Health and the autonomous communities agreed on Friday that all participants in the trips would be treated as close contacts and, therefore, would have to take a coronavirus test - if it is negative, it must be repeated between 24 and 48 hours later - and spend 10 days in quarantine. According to the spokesman for the Balearic Committee for the Management of Infectious Diseases, Javier Arranz, as the hotels of many of the students who stayed on the island "did not have the conditions to do the isolation well", they were moved to the bridge hotel for quarantine. This is not a new procedure in the Islands: until now it has been applied to all tourists affected by an outbreak.
Prosecutor Guasp's brief adds to the conflict between some of the isolated students and their parents, on the one hand, and the island's administration, on the other. Seven habeas corpus petitions (a judicial process of protection against illegal detentions) that parents of students had filed have already been denied by different court, but TSJIB sources confirm that this Tuesday they have received about 200 more. Of the young people who participated in study trips linked to the outbreaks, 13 are still isolated in their hotels, 12 are admitted to the Hospital de Son Espases with mild symptoms, and 249 more are in the bridge hotel.
Alcohol and partying at the hotel
The bridge hotel where the isolated students currently are - and where they have recorded the videos that have circulated on social networks complaining about the quarantine - is Palma Bellver, a four-star establishment located on the Passeig Marítim in the capital. The Local Police of Palma has made public that at half past two this morning it has had to send a patrol for the "numerous complaints" of neighbours and customers of the hotel next door, screaming, loud music and "vandalism" as "the launch of various objects on the public road". The police have been able to verify it themselves, when they have arrived, and the hotel security staff has explained that from a nearby bar they were getting alcoholic drinks "with buckets tied to sheets that were hoisted from the balconies". Although the students had ignored the hotel security staff when they asked them to stop, according to the local police they stopped when the officers asked them to.
"Nobody wants to be isolated, but we are in a public health crisis and the quarantine was not invented yesterday, we have had it for more than a year", said Arranz on Tuesday in response to accusations of "kidnapping" against the Balearic Government by some isolated students and their families. He added, "measures don't disappear if you go on holidays", and insisted that students "are well cared for in a good-standard hotel and their needs are covered". This Tuesday afternoon a rally in support of the young people had been called in front of the Hotel Palma Bellver, but no one went.