Wednesday. 29.03.2023

France advises against travel to Catalonia due to virus resurgence

Norway reintroduces self-isolation for tourists returning from Spain.

Barcelona. Photo: Pixabay.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Friday advised citizens not to travel to the neighbouring Spanish region of Catalonia, due to the number of coronavirus cases there.

Castex said the government was also working with Spanish and Catalan authorities to make sure that as few people as possible crossed into France from Catalonia.

The prime minister said that coronavirus tests would be obligatory by 1 August for anybody arriving in France from 16 countries outside the European Union where the virus was particularly active.

However, he did not say which countries would be affected by the measure. Public broadcaster FranceInfo cited sources in his office as indicating that Algeria, India, South Africa, Turkey and the United States were among the 16.

France has already banned entry for travellers from all but 11 countries outside the EU, except for French nationals and residents.

France was one of the European countries hardest hit by the virus, with more than 30,000 deaths.

Public health authorities warned on Thursday that infections, at a low level since May, had risen for a third week in a row, with 3,589 new cases, up 27 per cent on the previous week.

Norway reintroduces self-isolation

Norway on Friday said people returning from trips to Spain for the purposes of tourism and leisure would be required to self-isolate for 10 days, as coronavirus cases rose again.

Meanwhile, people travelling from four regions in neighbouring Sweden, including Varmland that borders with Norway, were released from the requirement to self-isolate on entering Norway, Oslo said, citing lower infection rates.

The Norwegian announcement was welcomed by local and regional authorities in Varmland and other Norwegian border communities. Traditionally, there is lively interaction between communities on both sides of the border but this had been halted due to the higher number of cases in Sweden.

"Strict measures have been implemented [in Spain], and it gives hope that the situation will soon come under control," added chief medical officer Are Stuwitz Berg of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

The agency has been tasked with updating the list of countries and requirements every two weeks.

Hungary was also dropped from the list of countries from which travellers were required to self-isolate.

Travellers returning from several other European countries, including Bulgaria, Croatia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and most of Sweden are still be required to self-isolate.

The criteria for dropping the self-isolation requirement include a maximum of 20 new infections per 100,000 people during a two-week period.

France advises against travel to Catalonia due to virus resurgence