CORONAVIRUS

Spain’s Basque region admits to second wave of Covid-19

More countries are introducing travel restrictions as coronavirus incidence continues to rise

A health worker does a PCR test on a resident of Aranda de Duero, in Spain's Burgos province.
A health worker does a PCR test on a resident of Aranda de Duero, in Spain's Burgos province.PacoSantamaria / EFE

More countries are introducing travel restrictions against Spain, where Basque authorities admit they are experiencing a second coronavirus wave and another town in Castilla y León has been placed in confinement due to a surge in cases.

On Thursday, the United States State Department lifted its global health advisory asking citizens to avoid all international travel. Instead, authorities have gone back to the usual country-by-country travel advice, and placed Spain in Level 3 out of four categories, where Level 4 is the highest existing alert. The travel advisory issued on Thursday urges US citizens to “reconsider travel” to Spain due to the Covid-19 situation there.

France is now advising its citizens not to travel to Aragón, which has the highest cumulative incidence of Covid-19 of any region in Europe, with 567 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. Aragón has become the second Spanish region to be targeted by a French travel advisory after Catalonia.

Germany, which is also experiencing a surge in cases, on Thursday announced that travelers from the Spanish regions of Aragón, Catalonia and Navarre will have to undergo mandatory coronavirus tests upon arrival, starting on Saturday.

Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom and Greece have all introduced some form of restriction on travelers from Spain. The Foreign Ministry on Thursday released a map with updated information.

Second wave in the Basque Country

The Basque government on Thursday confirmed that the region is experiencing “a second wave of the coronavirus” following a “significant rise” in recorded cases in recent weeks, according to the Basque health chief, Nekane Murga. Health authorities have detected 338 new cases in the last 24 hours.

“The virus is gaining ground on us little by little,” said Murga earlier this week. The health chief noted that although fewer fatalities are being reported than at the peak of the first wave in March, nobody should underestimate Covid-19′s ability to infect people or its effects on health.

“There are no reasons to believe that the virus is any weaker or less lethal right now. We are playing with fire,” she warned.

Confined citizens

A judge has authorized a request by the regional government of Castilla y León to confine the 32,000 residents of Aranda de Duero, in Burgos province, due to a recent surge in cases. The lockdown will go into effect on Friday and it will introduce measures similar to Phase 1 of the national deescalation plan that ended on June 21.

Residents will be able to come and go within the city limits, but entering and leaving Aranda will only be permitted for work or health reasons, to return to one’s regular place of residence, to care for the elderly or for other reasons considered to be force majeure.

Two other municipalities in Valladolid province, Íscar and Pedrajas de San Esteban, were confined last Sunday following virus spikes there. The move affected around 11,000 people.

With reporting by Juan Navarro in Bilbao and Mikel Ormazábal in San Sebastián

English version by Susana Urra.

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