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Germany to declare most of Spain a COVID-19 risk region: Sources

Germany to declare most of Spain a COVID-19 risk region: Sources

FILE PHOTO: Open touristic bars are seen in the corner of Bierstrasse street (Miquel Pellisa street) in El Arenal beach, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, Jul 15, 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Enrique Calvo)

BERLIN: Germany declared nearly all of Spain, including the tourist island of Mallorca, a coronavirus risk region following a spike in cases there.

The move deals a blow to hopes for a swift revival of mass tourism after months of lockdown all but wiped out this year's high season in Europe.

The Bild daily had reported earlier that Mallorca had been added to the list of high-risk regions published by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's public health agency.

The latest version of the RKI's list on its website said the whole of mainland Spain and the Balearic islands were risk regions.

Designations as risk regions are typically followed by the German Foreign Ministry warning against tourist travel to those areas and mean people returning from there face a coronavirus test or two weeks' compulsory quarantine.

The Balearic islands, off Spain's northwestern coast, include holiday destinations like Ibiza, among the most popular destinations for north European sunseekers.

READ: Spain's Barcelona changes tourism tactics in the COVID-19 era

The German government considers regions within the European Union high-risk once the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 people over the course of seven days.

Infections in Spain have spiked in recent days following the end of Spain's tough lockdown seven weeks ago.

Friday's almost 3,000 new cases, little changed from Thursday but about double the average in the first 12 days of August, brought the cumulative total to 342,813 - the highest number in Western Europe.

But the Balearic Islands have some of the lowest daily infections among the Spanish regions. After peaking at around 80 cases in July, they have come down to 9 as reported by the health ministry on Friday.

Spanish authorities earlier on Friday ordered the closure of nightclubs, banned drinking in outdoor public areas and all but outlawed smoking to try to stem the virus resurgence.

READ: Don't dance, don't smoke, don't drink - Not fiesta time in Spain's COVID-19 fight

Source: Reuters/jt

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