Spain, Greece and Croatia have all recorded an increase in Covid-19 numbers, which have prompted a series of new travel restrictions for those travelling to and from the destinations. In a recent interview, Director of the Civil Protection Headquarters and Assistant Interior Minister for Croatia Damir Trut revealed that about 50 foreign tourists had been infected with Covid-19 in the country, and that it has been reporting high numbers of new cases among its citizens since travel restrictions had begun to ease again. “The infection comes from the Adriatic, and young people are most affected, so it could be concluded that the most important factor could be nightclubs and cafes," he said.
As such, Austria has now warned against travel to Croatia, effective as of 17 August, after recording 57 new cases among people returning from the country within 24 hours. Those returning from Croatia to Austria will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test.
Italy has also added Croatia to its list of countries that travellers returning from must complete mandatory Covid-19 tests. Malta, Greece, and Spain are also included, and Italy has also placed a ban on arrivals and transit travellers from Colombia. “We must continue on a path of caution to defend the results we have obtained over the past months through sacrifices by everyone,” Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
On 12 August, Greece reported its highest daily number of new infections since the outbreak was first recorded in the country, and it’s possible that it will soon be added to the UK’s travel quarantine list as case numbers continue to climb.
Germany has now issued travel warnings for Spain, including the Balearic Islands of Mallorca, Ibiza, and Menorca, after a wave of new Covid-19 cases have been reported in the region. Those travelling back to Germany must now get tested or else quarantine for two weeks upon their return. German Health Minister Jens Spahn defended the latest decision while labelling Spain as a ‘party holiday’ destination. “Whoever goes to Spain despite this warning should protect themselves and others while on holiday,” he said. “Party holidays are irresponsible in this pandemic.”
However, Spain, which the majority of Schengen countries have now urged their citizens not to travel to, is looking at innovative ways to solve its tourism problem: the Balearic Islands approved plans to pay accommodation costs for tourists who became infected with Covid-19, hotels have started opening up specifically for quarantining tourists, and the Canary Islands launched an insurance policy covering Covid-19 medical costs for tourists.
Elsewhere, the US continues to instate a ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ warning for Mexico, despite having lifted its travel advisories for most other nations back at the beginning of August. “Its own government recognises that contagion rates are still high,” Christopher Landau, the US Ambassador to Mexico, said.
“Travelers to Mexico may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within Mexico due to Covid-19,” the State Department said.
Auckland, New Zealand, has extended its lockdown by two weeks after seven new cases of the virus were reported; and the six-week lockdown in Melbourne, Australia, continues, with the rest of the state of Victoria having limited public movement. While numbers are slowly tailing off for Victoria, state authorities have urged vigilance. “The signs are encouraging but it is not over,” said Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.
Over in South Korea, a series of lockdowns have been announced in Seoul, including a ban on indoor gatherings of at least 50 people and closures of entertainment venues, after reporting 166 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, its highest daily total since 11 March. “The spread of Covid-19 in the Seoul metropolitan area is very serious,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said. “We are now at a critical juncture where we may enter a second wave of infections, as is the case in the rest of the world, if we fail to overcome this crisis.”
ITIJ is pleased to report that over in South Africa, the outbreak has reportedly reached its peak, and so South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced a relaxation of some lockdown measures. “As we look back at the past five months, all indications are the South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve,” he said.
Ramaphosa explained that South Africa will now move to level two of its five-stage coronavirus alert system. “The move to level two means that we can remove nearly all of the restrictions on the resumption of economic activity across most industries,” he said. This includes lifting the restrictions on selling alcohol and cigarettes. However, restrictions on international arrivals will remain in place, though travel between provinces will now be allowed.