A FLIGHT from Madrid to Lanzarote with 140 people onboard has been quarantined after a passenger tested positive for the coronavirus while still in the air.
Shocked passengers were hurried off the plane and forced into quarantine after landing at Cesar Manrique airport on the Canary Islands yesterday, many were visibly shaken.
It is understood that Spanish authorities immediately launched an urgent enquiry to determine why the 53-year-old man was allowed to fly as current restrictions in Spain only allow people to fly for essential travel reasons, such as work or a personal emergency.
The passenger had reportedly taken a coronavirus test prior to travelling as he had been in contact with someone who had passed away from the virus and also attended their funeral. But according to reports, he had not received his results prior to boarding the flight – and only discovered the positive result while in the air.
It has since been revealed that the man himself informed the cabin crew of his diagnosis after being contacted by his sister.
Police and health authorities on the island scrambled to the airport after being contacted by Castilla y León public health department, a town that neighbours Madrid.
The man now faces prosecution and a considerable fine for skipping quarantine as well as a possible crime against public health. Passengers sitting closest to the man will now have to spend two weeks in quarantine, while the remaining travellers face a week in confinement before being tested.
The incident has apparently sent shock waves through the airline and travel and tourism industry who were hoping an end to quarantine periods altogether, this latest setback is the last thing I’m sure they wanted to hear.
The Minister of Health for the Canary Islands, Julio Pérez, confirmed that the man had been advised not to fly before receiving his test results, and also that another passenger with symptoms was detected on the same flight, who has been taken straight to the hospital for coronavirus tests.
The 13 people who have been subjected to isolation upon arrival in Lanzarote, are the passengers who occupied the two rows around him, and another passenger who he had been talking to, for about 15 minutes at the airport.