The French Government on Thursday called on its citizens to avoid Spain and Portugal as a tourist destination in the face of the advance of the delta variant of the coronavirus, discovered in India at the end of 2020 and up to 60% more contagious. The Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, advised the French, in a television interview, to stay in France this summer or visit other countries, and hinted that Spain had been lax in controls on the entry of tourists. “I tell those who have not yet booked their vacations to avoid Spain and Portugal in their destinations,” said Beaune on the France 2 chain. “It is an advice of prudence, a recommendation that I insist on. Better to stay in France or go to other countries ”.
In at least four Spanish communities, the delta variant is already the majority. The latest report from the Ministry of Health estimates its presence at around 11% of coronavirus cases, but experts assure that the actual transmission is greater and its expansion is “explosive.”
The delta variant is forcing Paris to readjust its calculations about a return to a certain normalcy this summer vacation. President Emmanuel Macron has convened next Monday a Health Defense Council – the body that directs policy on the pandemic in the Elysee Palace – to study measures to face the advance of the variant.
For the French Government, the high traffic of French tourists to Mediterranean neighbors is a matter of concern, and the possibility that they will return with the virus at a time when the epidemiological situation seemed under control, but when a majority of the population still she is not vaccinated.
“We follow in particular the situation of countries where, indeed, the increase is very fast: Portugal, Spain. Catalonia in particular, where many French people go to party or vacation, ”said Beaune. “Attention! Great prudence! We will decide in the next few days, but we could put in place reinforced measures ”.
When asked by the interviewer whether some European countries had relaxed entry controls too much to save the tourist season, Beaune replied: “I’m afraid. That is why we have been extremely clear with our European partners, especially in the fact that they do lack controls at each entry. A country like Greece, which had shown a certain laxism in recent weeks, has reinforced its control devices at the entrance. And better this way, because I think it reassures foreigners, tourists, the French who will go to Greece ”.
The Secretary of State, Macron’s strong man on European Union issues, asked European partners to only recognize, as a condition for entering their territories, the four vaccines authorized by the EU. And he added: “There are some countries, such as Spain, that were tempted or recognized at some point certain vaccines such as Russian or Chinese. We say to the European partners: attention: these vaccines, no. “