Spain imposes new restrictions to avoid holiday spike in Covid-19 cases

Madrid, Mar 17 (efe-epa).- Spain on Wednesday started imposing strict limitations on travel in most of the country to avoid a surge in coronavirus cases.

Restrictions are also expected to be implemented across the country during Holy Week next month.

The regions of Madrid, Valencia, the Basque Country, Extremadura, Murcia, Navarra and Galicia have imposed domestic travel bans and limitations on social gatherings until 21 March to avoid a spike during the upcoming St Joseph’s day this weekend.

Those restrictions are due to be extended to the whole country during Holy Week, between 26 March and 9 April.

The central government and most of the regions have agreed on the measures, with Madrid voting against them. Starting Wednesday, some 1,500 police officers will reinforce checks on roads, train and bus stations and the airport.

The restrictions come in a key moment for the severely-hit tourism industry.

The Spanish government argues that easing the restrictions during last Christmas led to a new wave of infections, something it wants to avoid this holiday season.

Despite the regions’ border closure, passengers can still arrive from outside the country by plane, provided they produce a negative PCR test within 72 days from arrival.

The Balearic islands are eagerly awaiting the return of tourists, especially from Germany. The authorities are reinforcing controls, such as employing camera-based fever screening systems.

Germany has removed Spanish regions such as the Balearic Islands from its list of high risk areas, which has seen demand for flights to Germans’ favorite destination surge. The German government has maintained its recommendations against all non-essential travel.

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