Delta variant: Paris advises against traveling to Spain and Portugal

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The French government on Thursday advised its nationals to “avoid Spain and Portugal” in the face of the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, at the risk of offending its European neighbors.

This is not a ban but a strong recommendation. The government advised the French, Thursday, July 8, “to avoid Spain and Portugal”, faced with the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19, statements freshly received by tourism professionals and Spain.

“Those who have not yet booked their holidays, avoid Spain, Portugal in your destinations, it is a word of caution”, declared the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, on television public France 2.

“It is a recommendation on which I insist, it is better to stay in France or go to other countries (…), we have a situation which is particularly worrying”, he added, while stressing that these destinations remained authorized. “Be careful, we will decide them in the coming days, but we will be able to have reinforced measures,” he said, referring to the French Defense Council scheduled for Monday.

>> To read: Covid-19: where can the French travel this summer?

These comments made at the start of the summer holidays raised questions and reservations, especially as Spain and Portugal are popular destinations for the French.

“They ‘advise against’, what does that mean concretely? Either there is a clear closure of the borders, or we do not say anything,” responded to AFP Didier Arino, director general of Protourism.

“The refuge destination is our neighbors in southern Europe: Spain, Portugal, Italy. All those who had already booked and a large part of those who were considering leaving will do so, but those who had not booked will hesitate to leave. This may have a strong impact on last minute bookings, “he lamented.

“The pandemic is not over”

“We must all act with a lot of caution and consultation between European partners. Stirring up anxieties, fears, that does not help at all, what is useful is to consult together and act after reflection”, declared to l ‘AFP the Spanish Ambassador to France, José Manuel Albares Bueno.

French Foreign Minister “Jean-Yves Le Drian is coming tomorrow on an official visit to Madrid and we are going to speak with him,” he added, insisting that Spain has a high vaccination rate.

“The measures we take on entering the country are fully compliant and taken in consultation with our European partners. We are concerned about the Delta variant, but no more and no less than other European countries.”

>> To read: Variant Delta: border management divides Europeans

On the Portuguese side, acknowledging that the health situation in his country had “worsened”, Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva argued that “the concerns of a friendly state like France” were “understandable”.

“This is advice,” he said in a statement to the Lusa agency, adding that members of the Portuguese community in France could return to visit their families, as these trips are among travel deemed essential.

Asked about the statements of Clément Beaune, the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire refused to comment, “because I am neither Minister of Health, nor Minister of Foreign Affairs”.

Clément Beaune also returned to the health situation throughout Europe, urging the countries of the European Union to be extremely careful. “We must be careful (…). The pandemic is not over,” he said. “A country like Greece, which had undoubtedly shown a little laxity in recent weeks, has strengthened its entry control system, so much the better,” he added.

He finally insisted on respecting the decisions of the European Medicines Agency on vaccines. “It is necessary that the vaccines that we recognize to enter the territory are really limited to those of which we are sure, that is to say the four which are today authorized in France and in Europe”, Pfizer, Moderna , AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, he hammered.

“There are certain countries like Spain which were tempted at one time, or which have made the recognition of certain vaccines like Russian or Chinese. We, we say to our European partners, be careful, no for these vaccines” , continued the Secretary of State. “It is also necessary that the airlines in particular control this device, we will be extremely hard on this point.”

With AFP

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