Vacation despite Corona: Just like that to Spain – how much longer?

As of: 06/28/2021 8:24 a.m.

The summer holidays have already begun in five federal states – and entry to Spain is easier than it has been in a long time for German vacationers. However, the corona situation is fragile.

By Reinhard Spiegelhauer,
ARD-Studio Madrid

The Abitur is over, it has to be celebrated – also in Spain. Thousands of students have therefore been to Mallorca with organized trips or privately in the last few weeks. And obviously overdid it: videos of beach parties and a concert in the bullring in Palma with several thousand visitors are circulating on social networks. Without distance, without masks.

The authorities are investigating those responsible, but the damage is there: more than 800 schoolchildren have tested positive at home on the mainland or on the island, and several thousand had to be quarantined as a precaution. “All of my friends have tested positive,” says one student after his own smear test.

In Mallorca, the focus is now on the staff of hotels in which the students have stayed. Did you get infected? How high is the proportion of the dangerous Delta variant? Is there a new corona wave threatening Mallorca?

Worry about a development like in Portugal

When looking at Portugal, hoteliers fear bad things. Nobody expected the situation to change so quickly, within a few days, says Lisbon vacationer Anna. “I’m flying home according to plan. In this respect, I was once again lucky that the official rules that apply to the virus variant are not yet so strict.”

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If she did not leave until tomorrow, she would have to be in strict quarantine for 14 days, with no possibility of being freely tested beforehand. Because from Tuesday morning, the entire country is again classified as a virus variant area by the Robert Koch Institute. Then strict rules apply again for entry from Portugal. Even vaccinated people who come home from a variant area have to be quarantined.

The fact that the situation in Portugal is developing so badly may also be due to tourism. In mid-May, the British were allowed to return to Portugal without having to be quarantined at home. At that time, however, the highly contagious Delta variant was already rampant in the UK. A week later, the RKI classified Great Britain as a virus variant area – however, the British were allowed to continue traveling to Portugal.

Merkel complains about inconsistent rules

You regret that it has still not been possible to have a uniform behavior of the member states with regard to travel regulations, said Chancellor Angela Merkel in Brussels just under a week ago. “It is now striking back, we now have a situation in Portugal that could perhaps have been avoided.”

Portugal’s tourism industry has already suffered the damage, now it could threaten the Spanish one, at least in Mallorca. From Wednesday the British government will be free to travel to the island, returnees no longer have to be in quarantine, but only have to be tested. And the British are as keen on vacations as hoteliers are on tourists. This is another reason why there are currently no entry restrictions for the British in Spain. The British are not allowed to enter Germany because of the Delta variant – in Spain, on the other hand, they do not even have to submit a negative corona test.

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Mallorca wants testing for the British

In the meantime, the hoteliers and the island government themselves are a little queasy at the thought of perhaps introducing the Delta variant with the holidaymakers from Great Britain. The United Kingdom does require tests on entry and exit, said the Balearic Tourism Minister Iago Negueruela on Saturday, but Spain should better control the tests on entry itself. Negueruela was ill-informed: Britain does not require its citizens to test before they leave the country. They do not have to be tested until they return.

The island government is now up to date and, together with the island’s hoteliers, is demanding that the central government introduce mandatory testing for tourists from Great Britain – as has applied to Germans to this day. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez thinks about it.

But whether a mandatory test is enough to stop the Delta variants when thousands of Brits come to the island? In Portugal, British tourists were and still have to test – there it apparently did not do enough in view of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Summer vacation in the south: finally, but how much longer?

Reinhard Spiegelhauer, ARD Madrid, 28.6.2021 · 07:26

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