MADRID (AFP) - Spanish authorities were on Friday (Nov 19) looking for seven Dutch tourists who went on the run after they tested positive for Covid-19 and were ordered to quarantine, a local official said.
The group was staying at a holiday home in the village of Navas del Madrono in the western region of Extremadura when one of them fell ill and tested positive at a local health centre, a spokesman for the regional government said.
Another six turned out to be infected as well and all seven were ordered to remain in quarantine, but when health authorities visited the holiday home on Wednesday, they found it empty, she added.
Regional health minister Jose Maria Vergeles said international health authorities had been notified because "this is a public health problem".
"We don't know where they are," he told a news conference on Friday, adding that "this is a clear example of what you shouldn't do".
"If they left the country, they did it overland because if they went to an airport they would be asked for a negative test and their situation would come to light."
The Dutch foreign ministry said it had no knowledge of the affair and denied Dutch media reports that the group had asked for consular support.
While Spain currently has one of the lowest Covid-19 incidence rates in Europe due to its high vaccination rate, infections are on the rise.
Spain's two-week contagion rate rose above 100 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday for the first time in more than two months, according to health ministry data.