Europe holiday blow as Delta variant case rise sees tightened restrictions | World | News

Popular destinations including Spain, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus are among those now tightening restrictions as cases of the Delta Covid variant soar. Although deaths and hospitalisations have so far remained low, a new wave of infections is unnerving governments.

The main fear is that there will be a new wave like Britain’s – despite the UK largely escaping serious cases thanks to its vaccine rollout.

On Saturday EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc had hit its target of delivering enough coronavirus vaccine to cover 70 percent of the adult population.

However she warned that there is no room for complacency, as the Delta variant – first discovered in India – continues to spread.

It accounts for more than 40 percent of cases in France, over 70 percent in Portugal and over 30 percent in Spain, Ms von der Leyen said.

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In Spain the 14-day incidence has soared to 215 cases per 100,000 people.

With its economy heavily dependent on tourism, the Mediterranean country is struggling to strike a balance between welcoming tourists and preventing transmission.

But with countries including France and Germany advising their citizens to stay away – it appears matters may be beyond their control.

Germany has already declared the whole of Spain a Covid risk zone, while the French foreign minister warned against French citizens travelling to Spain or Portugal.

“This variant is dangerous and quick and wherever it is present, it can ruin the summer,” said Gabriel Attal, a French government spokesman.

Their stance prompted a furious reaction from Madrid.

Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya said the current surge is not translating into more hospitalisations and urged people to be “proportionate” in their response to pandemic trends.

“This is a time for prudence, not for panicking,” she said at a press conference in Madrid.

“There is no reason at the moment to ask people to cancel their vacations.”

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