BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s foreign ministry advised the public on Friday against unnecessary tourist trips to the northern Spanish regions of Catalonia, Navarre and Aragon, as concerns grow that travel could bring a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
The Robert Koch Institute, a German public health agency, put the three Spanish regions on its list of high risk locations, meaning people returning to Germany are required either to quarantine for 14 days or present a negative coronavirus test.
With virus numbers ticking up in Germany, fears have grown that tourists returning from destinations experiencing a surge in new cases could spread infection quickly. Germany reported 870 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, the highest daily total since mid-May.
From next week, Germany plans to make coronavirus tests mandatory at airports for all returning holidaymakers from high-risk areas in order to slow the spread of infections.
The travel warning is the latest blow to Spain’s economy, which is already in a steep recession and depends on tourism for 12.3% of its economic output. Germans made up around 5% of tourists to Catalonia’s main city Barcelona in 2019, according to the city’s tourism activity report.
Germany’s travel warning follows moves by other European countries to restrict travel from Spain, above all Britain, which accounts for the largest share of foreign visitors. It has introduced a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from Spain and recommended against all but essential travel to the Spanish mainland. Norway has also imposed a 10-day quarantine.
France has advised against travel to Catalonia.
(Reporting by Caroline Copley; Additional reporting by Emma Pinedo Gonzalez in Madrid; Editing by Michelle Martin and Peter Graff)