Students at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.
THE HAGUE--Nine Aruba students who recently arrived in the Netherlands, have tested positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, Aruban Minister Plenipotentiary Guillfred Besaril announced during a press briefing in The Hague on Wednesday.
Up to Sunday, the number of students that tested positive stood at six. On Wednesday, this number had increased by three. A total of 32 students were tested. Also tested were several staff members of the Aruba House, mentors and members of the committee that guides the students in the different cities. All 20 persons tested negative.
Besaril said he had received “alarming” reports that more Aruba students with light symptoms were not coming forward because they were either embarrassed or did not comprehend the severity of the situation. Besaril said that while persons certainly had a right to privacy, it was important to come forward because it is about safeguarding fellow human beings.
“We need to prevent at all cost that the 2020 group of students become a cluster of contaminations that spread the virus. I am making a strong appeal to those students to come forward. Do not stay out of sight. Parents talk to your children. Having COVID-19 is nothing to be ashamed of; it is not a crime, but it is inexcusable if you don’t come forward,” said Besaril.
The minister plenipotentiary shared more worrisome news. He said there were reports of a group of Aruba students organising a large get-together or party, possibly at a student house. An irate Besaril called on these students to use their common sense and to immediately stop these plans “for a nice party before the studies start.”
“We have already had the incidents in the nightlife in Aruba. Have you not learned anything from what has happened? If I find out where and when this party is, I will not hesitate to immediately report this to the local authorities, and you will receive a stiff fine. Your behaviour is totally unacceptable,” said Besaril.
The minister plenipotentiary reminded all Aruba students that they were ambassadors of their country the moment they boarded the plane to the Netherlands. “That chip rests on all our shoulders. If you do something wrong here, they will immediately look at where you come from.”