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(new: Germany is a risk area from a Spanish perspective; travel association)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – Due to the increasing number of corona infections, the federal government is classifying Crete and other Greek holiday islands as high-risk areas from Tuesday. As early as Sunday, the Canary Islands and Catalonia with the tourist metropolis of Barcelona and the beaches of the Costa Brava will be removed from the list of high-risk areas, as the Robert Koch Institute announced on Friday. Spain, however, initially classified the whole of Germany as a risk area for one week.
Travelers from high-risk areas who have not been vaccinated or have recovered must be quarantined for ten days. You can get rid of it after five days with a negative test. There is no quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated and convalescent people.
According to an estimate by the German Travel Association (DRV), around 150,000 package holidaymakers from Germany are currently traveling in Greece. In addition, there is an unknown number of individual travelers. The country is also one of the top destinations around the Mediterranean this year. Islands such as Crete, Rhodes and Corfu are particularly popular.
In addition to Crete, the southern gis with holiday islands such as Rhodes, Kos, Mykonos or Naxos is classified as a high-risk area in Greece. These islands are currently full of tourists because of their intense nightlife, among other things, as the germ of the corona spread in Greece.
The government in Athens is trying to get the situation under control with so-called mini lockdowns. In Crete there is a ban on going out between 01:00 and 06:00 in the popular holiday regions of Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion until further notice. Exceptions are only made in emergencies and for those who work at night. In addition, music is no longer allowed to be played in bars. This is to avoid people dancing close together. These measures also apply to other smaller islands. In most cases, they apply for one to two weeks – until the number of new infections drops.
On Thursday, the Greek health authority registered 3273 new infections within 24 hours for the country with around eleven million inhabitants, and 20 people died.
Countries and regions with a particularly high risk of infection are classified as high-risk areas. Unlike in the past, it is not just the number of infections that is decisive. Other criteria are the speed at which the virus is spreading, the burden on the health system or a lack of data on the corona situation.
According to the new classifications, there will be around 70 countries that are wholly or partially classified as high-risk areas. Spain is so far a very high risk area. In addition to the Canary Islands and Catalonia, Valencia, Castile-La Mancha and Asturias will be removed from the list of high-risk areas on Sunday.
One day later, entry is made more difficult for all visitors from Germany by the Spanish side. From August 23, all of Germany will be declared a risk area due to the increasing number of infections, said the Spanish Ministry of Health in Madrid on Friday. This reclassification is initially valid for seven days. This means that all immigrants from Germany aged twelve and over must present proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test by midnight on August 29th. Most recently, only five federal states – Berlin, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Saarland and Schleswig-Holstein – were considered risk areas.
In the case of an antigen test, it must not be more than 48 hours upon arrival; in the case of PCR tests, it must be a maximum of 72 hours. Visitors from countries with low infection rates and not on the Spanish list of risk areas are allowed into the country without any restrictions.
In all of Spain, the situation has been getting better and better for weeks, despite all the summer parties including full beaches and beach bars. In the Canary Islands, the seven-day incidence fell from 250 to 105 within three weeks, in Catalonia from 413 to 128, in Valencia from 259 to 110. That these three regions that are heavily dependent on tourism are now being removed from the list of high-risk areas, will elicit joy, but not necessarily great cheers. Reason: The hotels on the Spanish coasts are all full these days, especially thanks to the Spaniards who stayed in the country this time.
Therefore, many houses could afford to drastically increase prices – to levels that are in some cases much higher than before the pandemic in summer 2019, as the newspaper “El Mundo” reported on Friday, citing the travel platform Mabrian. On the Costa Brava in Catalonia, three-star hotels collect an average of 30 percent more than in summer 2019 (109 euros instead of 84 euros per room). For five-star hostels there are even 114 percent more. And even in the Balearic Islands with Mallorca, which is still a high-risk area with a seven-day incidence of 180, the prices are currently between 27 and 40 percent higher than in 2019, depending on the category.
As of Sunday, further new high-risk areas are the Border and West regions in Ireland, Kosovo in the Balkans and North Macedonia and Dominica in the Caribbean. Brazil is being downgraded from the virus variant area with even stricter quarantine regulations to a high risk area. Andorra and Uruguay, which was previously a virus variant area, are completely deleted from the risk list./mfi/DP/jha