MADRID (Reuters) – Outbreaks of the coronavirus are happening across Europe and each country has to make its own decisions on how to halt them, Spain’s foreign minister said on Friday as Germany declared most of her country a risk region.
Germany’s decision followed a move by Britain to impose quarantine on people returning from Spain, dealing a further blow to hopes of a swift revival for tourism, which usually accounts for around 12% of the Spanish economy.
“New outbreaks are the norm, they are not the exception, in Spain or any other country in the European Union,” Arancha Gonzalez Laya told Reuters in an interview.
“Every country is taking measures to fight COVID … that they think are necessary to protect their citizens. We don’t question the measures other countries take.”
Some regions within Spain itself have limited movement with neighbouring areas to isolate flare-ups of the disease, “showing that this is not a question of diplomacy or politics, it is a question of epidemiology,” she said.
Spain recorded almost 3,000 new cases on Friday, about double the average in the first 12 days of August, bringing the cumulative total to 342,813 – the highest in Western Europe.
Earlier on Friday, Spain announced a series of measures limiting nightlife, including closing discotheques, cocktail bars and dance halls.
Asked whether the limits on night-time leisure would have an impact on tourism and on the economy, Gonzalez Laya said:
“The main question today is how do we make sure we limit infection and the expansion of COVID in the country.”
(Reporting by Isla Binnie; additional reporting by Jessica Jones; editing by Andrei Khalip and Jonathan Oatis)