Spain is safe despite rise in new COVID-19 cases: Govt

The Spanish government has insisted that the country continues to be a safe tourist destination despite the recent spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks.

Figures published by the Health Ministry on Friday revealed that there were 10,990 new cases the previous week, almost twice as many as the 5,595 cases reported before that, fueling worries of a ‘second wave’ of the virus hitting Spain, reports Xinhua news agency.

This development led to Norway imposing a 10-day quarantine on people returning from Spain and on Saturday night, the UK said that it was re-imposing a 14-day quarantine for people coming back from the country.

The news is a further blow to the Spanish tourism industry, which is already suffering as a result of the coronavirus crisis and which usually provides 12 per cent of Spain’s GDP and 11 per cent of its jobs.

Speaking to Spanish state TV network RTVE on Sunday, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya insisted that despite the rise in cases, the situation was “under control”.

“Spain is a safe country for tourism. There are localized outbreaks (of the virus) as in other European countries, but we are making a huge effort to detect new cases and adopting measures to isolate those who test positive, as well as maintaining continued dialogues with all countries, especially the UK,” explained the minister.

Meanwhile RTVE reported that the Defence Ministry was preparing a plan that would allow military personnel to carry out ‘tracking and tracing’ contacts of COVID-19 infected people in a bid to curb the virus spread.

The plan was published on Saturday in the Official Defense Gazette (BOD) and aims to make up for a shortfall in the number of ‘tracers’ in some regions of Spain, such as Madrid.

As of Monday, Spain reported 272,421 COVID-19 cases and 28,432 deaths.