Prince Joachim of Belgium is facing criticism after defying social distancing protocols to attend a party in Spain—and subsequently testing positive for COVID-19.
In a statement to People by his attorney in Spain, signed "Joachim of Belgium," the Prince said he regretted his decision. "I would like to apologize for traveling and not having respected the quarantine measures,” the statement read. "I did not intend to offend or disrespect anyone in these very difficult times and deeply regret my actions and accept the consequences."
The 28-year-old traveled to Spain from Belgium on May 24, later taking a train from Madrid south to Córdoba. Spanish media reports that Joachim went to a private party in Córdoba on that day, with 27 people in attendance—nearly double the 15-person limit in effect at the time. The day after the fête, Joachim began experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus. It was later confirmed that he had contracted the illness.
A spokeswoman for Rafaela Valenzuela, the Spanish government's chief representative in the city, told CNN that authorities are investigating the matter, and regional health authorities had indeed reported to the government that up to 27 people may have been at the party. If Joachim or any other attendee is found to have violated the social distancing rules, they face a fine of up to $11,100.
"I feel surprised and indignant … [as] at a moment of national mourning for so many dead, an incident of this type stands out," Valenzuela told El País, per the Guardian. "It’s completely irresponsible, because that number of people multiplied could cause an outbreak, and that would mean that Córdoba, after passing to Phase 2, would have to take a step back. That is unforgivable."
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