Society 08/07/2021

France advises its citizens not to travel to Spain and Portugal during the holidays

The French government warns of the rise of the delta variant "particularly in Catalonia" and is considering implementing new measures

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Passatgers queuing at El Prat airport, in an archive image.

BarcelonaThe expansion of the delta variant of the coronavirus is putting authorities across Europe on alert. This Thursday the French government has recommended its citizens to avoid traveling to Spain and Portugal during the summer holidays, a fact that could be a major blow to tourism in the two countries this season. "For those who have not yet booked their holidays, avoid Spain and Portugal in your destinations", the government's secretary of state in charge of European affairs, Clément Beaune, told the program 4 Verités on France 2 television station. "It is better to stay in France or go to other countries", added Beaune, who was alarmed by the advance of the delta variant "particularly in Catalonia".

The secretary has given this "prudent advice" to its citizens and has assured that the French government will decide in the coming days if it takes "reinforced measures" to avoid travel to the Peninsula. "We have a particularly worrying situation, especially in Portugal, where fortunately they are taking measures", he said. The Portuguese government decided last week to impose a night curfew in 45 municipalities in the country, including the capital, Lisbon, and the second most populous city, Porto, because of the high incidence accumulated in recent weeks. Last Thursday WHO also warned of an increase in covid-19 infections in Europe after 10 weeks of decline.

The French government's decision could be a major blow to the tourism sector in Spain and Catalonia in a season that pointed towards economic recovery with the implementation of the European Covid Certificate and the easing of covid restrictions. The European authorities, however, have already warned, with the entry into force of the certificate, of the advance of the new variant, which could imply new restrictions on mobility.