Spain reopens border with France, UK - GulfToday

Spain reopens border with France, UK


Spain reopens its borders to tourists on Sunday in a bid to kickstart its economy. File photo

Traffic flowed again across Spain's border with France on Sunday as the last of the strict Spanish coronavirus restrictions introduced in March were eased.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced earlier this month that Madrid would remove border checks with most of its EU member partner states from June 21 as efforts to control the pandemic appeared to be working.


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Meanwhile, Spain also reopened its borders to British tourists on Sunday in a bid to kickstart its economy while Brazil and South Africa struggled with rising levels of coronavirus infections. At a campaign rally, President Donald Trump said he told his government to reduce US testing for the virus, an apparent attempt to avoid unflattering statistics.

A woman applauds from her home in support of healthcare workers in Ronda, southern Spain. File/Reuters

The head of the World Health Organization has warned that the virus's global spread is accelerating after a daily high of 150,000 new cases was reported last week.

Spain has been one of the worst affected countries, suffering more than 28,000 deaths and nearly 300,000 cases, with its economy and especially the key tourist industry devastated.

Madrid, the capital, and the Barcelona and the Catalan region, were very badly hit and remained longer under tighter restrictions than elsewhere.

The new coronavirus has infected nearly 8.8 million people and killed more than 464,000 worldwide, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The true number is thought to be much higher because many cases go untested.

At a campaign rally in Tulsa Oklahoma, Trump said on Saturday he has told his administration to slow down virus testing. He said the United States has tested 25 million people, but the "bad part” is that it found more cases.

The Spanish government announced Saturday that from Sunday EU member state citizens and those from the passport-free Schengen zone would be allowed freely into Spain, with no 14-day quarantines required.

Portugal has however said it will keep its border with Spain closed until July 1.

In Madrid's main Atocha railway station, Laura Garcia waited impatiently for the train taking her to Barcelona to see her fiance.