The infection rate is clearly declining in many European holiday countries. For example, on July 1, the federal government lifted the travel warning for more than 80 corona risk areas. But how sustainable this positive development is remains to be seen. In fact, the more aggressive delta variant is already spreading in many countries and is driving the incidences up again in some countries. We give an overview of the most important holiday countries.
Portugal – increasing numbers due to delta
The euphoria was great when Portugal opened its borders to German tourists again just a few weeks ago. But in the meantime the situation in the country, which was already badly affected by Corona at the beginning of the year, has worsened again: Due to Delta, the number of infections is increasing again and is now already over 2000 new infections per day – the 7-day incidence is included over 150 cases per 100,000 residents. The reason for this is the delta variant, the proportion of which in the infection process has now risen sharply.
According to the European Center of Disease Control (ECDC), the delta variant already accounted for 74 percent of all sequenced samples in the last survey period (week 24). Even if only 1.4 percent of all cases are examined in this regard at all.
The RKI therefore only classified Portugal, including Madeira and the Azores, as a virus variant area on June 29. However, this classification no longer applies. Since July 7th, the country is only considered a high incidence area including Madeira and the Azores.
As long as a country is classified as a virus variant area, return travelers must be in quarantine for 14 days. This cannot be reversed with an early PCR test – there is no point in being fully vaccinated or recovered. On the other hand, returnees from high-incidence areas who have been vaccinated or have fully recovered do not have to go to the otherwise necessary 10-day quarantine, which can be ended after five days with a negative test.
Spain – infection rate is increasing sharply
Even in one of the most popular travel destinations within the EU, the number of infections is increasing again: The number of new infections in Spain was recently over 7,000 cases per day. That is why the RKI only put the regions of Catalonia and Cantabria on the list of risk areas a few days ago. Other risk areas are considered
- La Rioja,
- the Basque Country and
- the enclave of Ceuta.
Most of the cases so far can be traced back to the alpha variant of the coronavirus, which was first detected in the UK. But also the delta variant, which is considered to be more contagious, is on the advance. According to ECDC, Delta’s share of sequenced cases was over 32 percent by week 24. Spain sequenced only 1.2 percent of a total of 22,814 cases in week 24.
The number of infections is also on the rise again on the Germans’ favorite island, Mallorca. On Sunday, 178 new infections were reported on the holiday island, the incidence was 81.4 on Friday – and had more than quadrupled within a short time. The Balearic-wide incidence, including the neighboring islands such as Ibiza and Menorca, is even over 128.
It could well be that Mallorca will soon be declared a risk area again. To this end, the Federal Government and the RKI are examining various factors: on the one hand, whether the 7-day incidence exceeds 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and, on the other hand, whether there is actually an increased risk of infection due to various factors (lack of protective and hygiene measures, etc.).
The reason for the rapidly increasing numbers on Mallorca is not just the delta variant. The many school graduation trips, during which more than 1,800 young people were infected, also play a role. In the group of 20 to 29 year olds, the 7-day incidence in Spain is around 450. Mallorca therefore started vaccinating 16 to 29 year olds last week.
Italy – low infection rate, but delta is increasing
It was pure joy when the RKI Italy crossed the list of risk areas a few weeks ago. Because, similar to ours, the number of new infections has decreased continuously since May. In the meantime, the number of infections nationwide is around 700 new cases per day and is currently leveling off at this level. The 7-day incidence is 10 cases per 100,000 population.
Because the number of delta cases is also increasing in Italy. According to the ECDC, the proportion in week 24 was around 29 percent – even if only 2.1 percent of all new cases were sequenced in this period. At the moment, travelers do not have to fear any changes to the entry conditions. As before, EU citizens only have to fill out an online form upon entry and use the online form to inform the Italian health department of their location within 48 hours of entry.
France – Incidence at 25, delta increases
In France, too, the corona situation has recently eased. Due to declining infection numbers, the country has no longer been a risk area since June 20. Only the overseas territories of La Réunion, French Guyana and St. Martin are classified as such by the RKI.
The number of infections in continental France is currently over 2000 cases per day – the 7-day incidence is 25 (as of 3.7.). According to the ECDC, the delta proportion of infections is just under 20 percent (as of June 20) – but the sequencing rate was only 0.6 percent in the assessment period. That means here too: The proportion of Delta could already be significantly higher in the country.
In terms of entry, the procedure remains the same for EU citizens: Germans and citizens of other EU countries belong to the “green” countries and have to fill out a self-declaration that they are free of Covid-19 symptoms and submit a PCR or rapid test when entering the country that is not older than 72 hours. Anyone who is fully vaccinated or has proof of Covid 19 recovery that is no older than six months is exempt.
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Croatia – low incidence, only Zadar as a risk area
In the popular holiday destination on the Adriatic, too, the number of infections is currently pleasantly low and at a similar level to that in Germany. According to the ECDC, the 7-day incidence was just over 12 cases per 100,000 population (as of July 3). Only in Zadar County has the number of new infections exceeded the 50 mark per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days, which is why the region has been a risk area since June 27. There is no reliable data on the distribution of the delta variant.
Surprisingly, however, Croatia tightened the entry rules on July 1st: So far, citizens from EU countries with low infection rates, including Germany, have been able to travel to Croatia without any conditions or restrictions. Since Thursday, however, the border officials have been demanding the new, EU-wide valid Corona certificate (“Green Pass”) from all travelers, regardless of where they come from. However, the certificates issued by the individual countries, which prove that the person concerned has been vaccinated, recovered or tested, are also accepted, according to the Croatian police on their website.
Austria – further easing despite the delta
In Austria, life has largely normalized thanks to the low number of infections. The 7-day incidence is 8.6 cases per 100,000 population, according to the ECDC. Therefore, the RKI no longer classifies the neighboring country as a risk area.
On July 1, further easing took place: discos and nightclubs are allowed to reopen and the mask requirement has been largely reduced. However, the more contagious Delta variant is also spreading in Austria. According to the latest status of the ECDC, the proportion of Delta in calendar week 23 was 30 percent. The sequencing rate was 7.2 percent of all cases.
German vacationers who have recovered or are fully vaccinated may enter the country with proof – all others must submit a PCR or antigen test and register within 24 hours of arrival.
Greece – Delta variant at around 10 percent
In Greece, the incidence of just under 50 is currently relatively high compared to many other European holiday countries. According to the ECDC report from week 24, the proportion of the delta variant is currently only 10 percent. However, sequencing only takes place in 5.9 percent of the detected cases.
A negative PCR test that is not older than 72 hours or a rapid test that is not older than 48 hours is required for entry. Anyone who can prove a complete vaccination or is recovered (the infection must not have been more than nine months ago) does not have to present a test upon entry.