Following a spike in Covid-19 cases, the German authorities have released a new travel advice for some of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations. Authorities fear that German holidaymakers returning from Spain might cause a surge in new cases.
On July 28th, German Foreign Ministry Heiko Maas issued a notice warning against leisure travel to three Spanish regions due to local lock-downs and new infections. The areas include Aragon, Navarra, and Catalonia, and thus also the popular city of Barcelona and the Costa Brava.
Catalonia’s reaction was immediate. “We don’t evaluate the decisions of other countries, but we obviously don’t share it. Our government is responsible, and we are working hard to ensure the health of local people and of tourists,” said Catalonia’s foreign affairs chief Bernat Sole.
Aragon’s regional government considered the new German travel recommendation as a discriminatory advice.
However, Germany’s Foreign Ministry has not issued a formal travel warning, nor has he added the three Spanish regions to the list of high-risk areas (a compulsory virus test is requested for every German citizen returning from high-risk zones).
The German government lifted its travel warning for Spain on June 21, as European countries gradually reopened their borders after the lock-down. In the same moment, Spain ended its state of emergency imposed due to the pandemic. Unfortunately, a recent rise in cases has urged many Spanish regions to enforce rules for masks. In some high-risk areas such as Barcelona, people have been asked to stay home.
A severe blow to the Spanish tourism industry
Not only Germany has raised concerns about holidays in Spain. Even Norway, for example, has imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine for people returning from the Iberian Peninsula. France has also recommended citizens to avoid trips to Catalonia. Last weekend, the UK also imposed a two-week isolation for everybody returning from Spain.
Simon Clarke, British Junior Minister, declared that this last travel advice was guided by science, as Spain’s infection rate had increased. He also added that the UK will continue to work closely with the Spanish government to get the situation under control as quickly as possible.
However, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez argued that much of his country had a lower number of cases than the UK.