March 17, 2020 / 11:28 AM / 22 days ago

Holidaymakers isolated at Portuguese hotel after guest tests positive for coronavirus

LISBON (Reuters) - Holidaymakers at a hotel on the Portuguese island of Madeira were in isolation after a Dutch guest tested positive for the coronavirus, the regional government said on Tuesday.

The Dutch guest arrived last Thursday and was staying at the Quinta do Sol hotel in Funchal, the largest city in Madeira.

“We all need to be aware of how serious this situation is in the face of the great challenge that lies ahead,” the president of Madeira’s regional government Miguel Albuquerque told a news conference.

Though this is the first coronavirus case on the Atlantic Ocean island, Portugal already has 331 confirmed cases and reported its first death related to the outbreak on Monday.

Local media said it had about 120 guests. Without providing further details, the hotel told Reuters they were now preparing to deliver food to guests’ rooms.

Online images showed police officers outside the building.

“In this new phase, the (regional) government will take all measures to contain this epidemic in Madeira,” Albuquerque said, adding they will inform embassies of the “mandatory need” to repatriate their citizens who remain on the island.

The regional government announced on Saturday that all passengers arriving on Madeira had to be put in compulsory quarantine for a minimum period of 14 days to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Madeira’s regional government has been pressuring the national government to close borders.

Reporting by Catarina Demony, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Angus MacSwan

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