FILE PHOTO: Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport is seen empty during Holy Week amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Barcelona, Spain April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce/File Photo
MADRID (Reuters) – Spanish authorities are planning to keep borders closed to most travellers from abroad until July, two foreign ministry sources told Reuters on Wednesday, in a move to try and avoid a second wave of contagion from the coronavirus.
Land borders with France and Portugal have been closed since a state of emergency was declared in mid-March to fight the pandemic, pushing the economy to a near stand-still and hitting its key tourism sector hard.
Spain has started easing the lockdown for its residents as the pandemic gets under control and decided in parallel to apply a two-week quarantine for foreign travellers, practically shutting the border to air and maritime travel to avoid importing new cases from other countries.
The quarantine measure is due to expire on May 24 when the state of emergency lapses, but both can be extended. In any case, restrictions on travel are likely to remain in place for much longer than May 24, no matter how crucial tourism is for the Spanish economy, the sources told Reuters.
“When we reach the new normal we can start opening borders with Schengen countries, we are talking about opening to these countries in early July,” one of the sources said.
Reporting by Belén Carreño; Writing by Nathan Allen; Editing by Andrei Khalip and Ingrid Melander