Germany has today updated its travel advisory to recommend that people should avoid non-essential travel to three areas of northern Spain. The warning comes as Spain grapples with spikes in COVID-19 cases in Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra.
Travel warning for worst-hit Spanish regions
As reported in The Local on Tuesday, the German foreign office has warned against travel to the regions of Spain that have seen a significant rise in the cases of COVID-19. In a statement, the head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Lothar Wieler told reporters,
“Non-essential tourist travel to the autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra are currently discouraged due to renewed high levels of infections and local lockdowns. We must prevent that the virus once again spreads rapidly and uncontrollably.”
The advice doesn’t include Spain’s southern coastal areas or the Balearic and Canary Islands, which have much lower rates of infections.
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The updated travel advisory comes amid fears that Germany is facing its own second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Wieler said that one of the reasons for a resurgence of cases was German tourists bringing the virus back from their holidays.
Spanish tourism industry hit again
Germany’s travel warning follows the UK’s decision on Saturday to advise against travel to any area of Spain. On Monday, the British advisory was updated to include the Balearic and Canary Islands. Holidaymakers returning to the UK from Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
This morning, the BBC reported that the UK government was in talks with Spain about easing the quarantine rules for the islands. The government wants to study more coronavirus data from the Spanish islands before making a decision. The travel industry is hoping for a favorable decision by Friday.
Spanish holiday hot spots have been hard hit by the pandemic. With bars and restaurants only just beginning to reopen, and staff having been laid off since March 14, many were keen to get back to work. The latest news will sound the death knell for many businesses that will not be able to recover.
Airlines cancel flights
The UK’s largest tour operator, TUI, was among the first to cancel all flights to Spain. Luton-based easyJet said it had canceled all package holidays to Spain and its islands until July 31. After Spain’s islands were included in the advisory, Jet2 posted the following message on Twitter:
CUSTOMER UPDATE – 27.07.20
FOLLOWING PREVIOUS ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING MAINLAND SPAIN, FURTHER UPDATE INCLUDING BALEARIC AND CANARY ISLANDS pic.twitter.com/pCACsdKQJG
— Jet2tweets (@jet2tweets) July 27, 2020
However, Ryanair and British Airways said that flights to Spain would continue as usual. Ryanair’s Chief Financial Officer, Neil Sorahan told the BBC,
“The schedules remain in place. As things stand, the market remains open, the schedules remain in place and we continue to operate in and out of Spain as normal.”
British Airways also said it would continue to operate flights to Spain. A spokesperson said,
“While our flights continue to operate, this is sadly yet another blow for British holidaymakers and cannot fail to have an impact on an already troubled aviation industry.”
This information was correct at the time of writing but is subject to change.
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