August 6, 2021

Spain, Portugal: This is how dangerous the fourth corona wave is in Europe

economy Fourth wave in Europe

Deceptive holiday mood – These countries have the highest number of new infections

These regions are now considered a risk area

Summer vacation is just around the corner. However, there is also concern about the spread of the Delta variant. What do holidaymakers have to consider and which regions are now considered risk areas?

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Portugal and Great Britain are no longer virus variant areas – but the supposedly good news is deceptive: Because the trend of recent days in new corona infections does not bode well for many holiday countries.

Dhis news has made many holidaymakers breathe a sigh of relief: As of Wednesday, Portugal and Great Britain will no longer be considered virus variant areas. If the federal government had shocked numerous vacationers with strict return travel requirements from the popular destinations just last week, it suddenly downgraded five countries to high incidence areas again. This also means that the strict 14-day quarantine obligation also falls.

The reason is obvious: The highly contagious delta variant of the corona virus has also established itself in this country, and according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) it will soon account for more than half of all new infections. However, the decisive factor for classifying a state as a virus variant area is that the mutation “does not occur at the same time in a widespread domestic environment”, according to the RKI. Means: Anyone who is themselves a virus variant area no longer has to classify others as such.

Travelers should make that positive. For those who have been fully vaccinated and those who have recovered, the quarantine obligation is no longer applicable; others can now test themselves free just five days after their return. But the regained holiday joys are deceptive. Because in addition to the mere discussion about the delta variant, one well-known question is likely to determine the progress of the summer vacation: How far are the new infections rising again?

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The trend of the past few days does not bode well for many vacation countries. In Spain, for example, the seven-day incidence (new infections in seven days per 100,000 inhabitants) more than doubled within a week – and the trend is rising. On Monday the value was 158.

Particularly affected: the region of Catalonia with its holiday city of Barcelona. Most recently, the incidence here climbed to over 300. But the number of new infections has also increased significantly in the Balearic Islands, including the Germans’ favorite island, Mallorca.

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This also applies to individual Greek holiday islands, which are much more affected by the spread of the delta variant than the mainland. Cyprus was also hit particularly hard. The island nation in the Mediterranean currently has one of the highest in Europe, with a seven-day incidence of around 370. Two weeks ago the value was below 50.

And despite the downgrading, Portugal is also reporting an increasing number of new infections per day. In the Corona model country in spring, the seven-day incidence is currently 147, at the end of May the value was still below 30. Here too, the holiday regions are particularly affected, above all the capital Lisbon and the Algarve.

Source: WORLD infographic

Portugal also shows that many countries do not shy away from new corona measures despite high vaccination rates. After the delta variant had last driven up the number of infections there, night curfews were again imposed for Lisbon and 40 other cities – also to the annoyance of holidaymakers.

Many people willing to travel are not yet worried about their vacation, according to the tour operators. According to their own statements, they have not felt any consequences in the booking behavior of customers so far. “Especially for short-term trips in the summer holidays 2021, we are still seeing a very high demand,” Ralph Schiller, head of the travel company FTI, told the dpa news agency. Even in regions with a strong focus, such as Mallorca, guests reacted calmly, “so that we are currently not reporting any increased number of cancellations for the island”.

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Andreas Rüttgers, Head of Tourism at the tour operator Schauinsland-Reisen, has not seen any negative effects so far, with the exception of the most recent cancellations in Portugal. “Since Portugal will no longer be classified as a virus variant area from July 7th, 2021, the tense situation could also change again here,” he said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) had already announced the travel facilitation last week, but without naming all countries and a specific date. A week earlier, at the EU summit in Brussels, she had unsuccessfully insisted on common travel rules in the EU in order to curb the spread of the delta variant.

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