Coronavirus? Spain decides to save EU Tourism and reopens
Forget Coronavirus, let’s save tourism and the economy, maybe the incentive behind Spanish officials reopening their country to tourists from elsewhere in Europe Sunday after a three-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Or is the message, we did it. COVID-19 was really bad, but we worked hard and had become a safe place to welcome visitors again.
Checking the temperature by arriving tourists, and asking questions may look good in the PR world, but how effective is this global quick check to keep this deadly virus out of a country?
In the following numbers the truth is buried:
Spain has the 5th highest death rate for COVID-19 based on population ( 606 per million) after San Marino, Belgium, Andorra, and the U.K. Spain is number 15 in the world of COVID-19 cases per million with 6,257.
In Europe, only Luxembourg, Andorra, Vatican City, and San Marino had a higher number.
The daily new cases however went down significantly from when it peaked at the end of March with sometimes exceeding 7,500 a day and now down to 363 new cases.
Today Spain had 7 people dying from COVID, during the peak around March 28 this number was almost 1000.
As a result the Kingdom officially ended a national state of emergency, both allowing residents to travel throughout the nation and removing a requirement that any visitors from Britain or Europe’s Schengen travel zone, which does not require visas, quarantine for 14 days upon the arrival.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warned residents to tread lightly even with restrictions lifted to avoid a resurgence.
“The warning is clear,” Sánchez said, according to The Associated Press. “The virus can return and it can hit us again in a second wave, and we have to do whatever we can to avoid that at all cost.”
Tourism is one of Spain’s leading industries, with 80 million tourists a year bringing in about 12 percent of the country’s GDP. Other European economies similarly dependent on tourism such as Italy and Greece have taken comparable steps to slowly reopen.
Spanish officials will take all new arrivals’ temperatures at the airport, with visitors required to disclose whether they have the virus and provide contact details, the BBC reported.
Social distancing measures will remain in place, with citizens required to stay the equivalent of five feet apart in public and wear masks in stores and on public transportation.
The end of the lockdown, and similar steps in other parts of Europe that were once global epicenters, comes as other continents have seen worsening outbreaks. In Brazil, the national Health Ministry reported an increase of more than 50,000 in a day, even as President Jair Bolsonaro has minimized the risk of the virus, and South Africa reported a new single-day high of 4,966 new cases Saturday.