'The danger of a second wave is real,' Germany's Health Minister warns holidaymakers

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 13 Jul, 2020 Updated Mon 13 Jul 2020 13:05 CEST
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Health Minister Jens Spahn has warned tourists to remain careful when travelling abroad from Germany after reports of Germans partying and ignoring coronavirus rules in Mallorca.


Spahn spoke out about the risks of holiday travel after photos emerged of German tourists disregarding coronavirus rules in Ballermann 6, the renowned party mile on the Balearic island of Mallorca.

The Health Minister said German tourists needed to be more careful in case they spark a large outbreak of coronavirus on the island, similar to what happened in the ski resort of Ishgl in Austria which is widely thought to have fuelled the epidemic in Europe after it become a virus hotspot.

Local media on the Spanish island voiced outrage after video footage showed mainly German holidaymakers drinking, singing and dancing outside bars and terraces on Friday evening.

One local newspaper dubbed it "chaos" while the German-language Mallorca Zeitung said "it was as if no one had ever heard of the corona pandemic".

"The pictures that we saw of the Germans' favourite island, Mallorca, at the weekend worry me," said Spahn during a press conference on Monday. "We must be very careful that Ballermann doesn't become a second Ischgl."

Spahn was referring to the Austrian ski town of Ischgl, which became a major coronavirus hotspot in the early stages of the pandemic. 

The Health Minister said the majority of people understand the rules, such as wearing a mask when a safe distance from others can't be guaranteed. However, he urged residents in Germany to have common sense.

"Most people know that group trips to Ballermann, that big events, hugging or shopping without a mask are not good ideas at the moment," said Spahn.


Jens Spahn on Monday. Photo: DPA

"Where people celebrate together, the risk of infection is particularly high," he added."When holidaymakers then return home, there is a risk of infection on the plane and at home, Spahn warned. This must be prevented "especially during travel and holiday periods".

 "I'm not here to ruin the fun... but now is not the time for this,' he added.

To protect against the spread of the coronavirus, a tightened mask requirement is to come into force in Mallorca and the other Balearic Islands on Monday.

Sun-soaked Mallorca is known for being a favourite holiday destination for Germans. Before Spain's border opened in mid-June, thousands of people from Germany were allowed to visit the island on holiday.

READ ALSO: Germany has 'third most valuable passport in the world'

'Germany cannot become overconfident'

Spahn said that in general people in Germany needed to remain alert and that the threat of coronavirus was still very much present.

"The regional outbreaks show how quickly the virus spreads," he said. However, it was reassuring that health authorities had succeeded in breaking the infection chains and keeping the outbreaks at a local level, Spahn added.

"We should not lull ourselves into a false sense of security. This pandemic is not yet over. We are right in the middle of it," said Spahn.

"The danger of a second wave is real. We should remain vigilant and not become overconfident."

The Health Minister urged people to keep their distance and follow recommended hygiene measures, as well as wearing protective masks. He thanked people in Germany for sticking to the rules and helping to keep the spread of Covid-19  under control.

As of Monday July 13th, Germany's Robert Koch Institute had registered 198,963 coronavirus infections in the country since the start of the pandemic, and 9,064 people have died. 


Meanwhile, an estimated 185,100 people have recovered from the infection.



The Local 2020/07/13 13:05

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