Germany set to lift travel warning for parts of Spain and Portugal

The German government has sent out a major signal that Easter holidays in the sun could be back on by lifting its travel warning for Mallorca and several other popular tourist spots on the Iberian coast.

Germany set to lift travel warning for parts of Spain and Portugal
A beach in Mallorca on March 11th. Photo: Clara Margais/DPA

Starting on Sunday, Mallorca and the entire Balearic archipelago will no longer be considered risk areas for travel due to a vastly improved epidemiological situation there.

The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) confirmed on its website on Friday that the regions no longer had enough infections to be considered risk areas.

On Mallorca and the other Balearic islands of Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, the 7-day incidence has dropped to 21 infections per 100,000 inhabitants within a period of seven days. The threshold for classification as a risk area by the RKI is 50.

Back in December and January the Balearic Islands had some of the highest levels of infection in Spain, but the islands now have fewer cases than any region of Germany.

READ ALSO: Will it be possible to go on holiday in Germany over Easter?

On the Spanish mainland, the coastal regions of Valencian and Murcia, where the popular destinations of Benidorm, Calpe, Javea and Denia are located, will also be removed from the risk list on Sunday.

The same goes for the regions of Extremadura, La Rioja and Castilla-La Mancha. 

Large parts of Portugal will also be taken off the list despite the presence of variant strains of the virus there.

For the entire northern half of the country (Norte and Centro regions) including Porto, the travel restrictions will be lifted completely – including the ban on airline transport. 

However, the popular southern coast of the Algarve, the Atlantic island of Madeira, and the capital Lisbon will continue to be considered risk areas. 

The removal of these regions from the list means that travellers will no longer be required to take a test on their return to Germany, nor will they need to go into quarantine. However, there will be still be rules like wearing masks and observing social distancing.

At the same time, however, the German government still advises against “all but essential travel at home and abroad”.

People flying to Spain from coronavirus risk areas (which includes Germany) do not have to go into quarantine but must present a negative PCR test that is no older than 72 hours. Antigen tests are not accepted. You also have to fill out a form before travel.

READ ALSO: The updated Covid-19 restrictions for regions of Spain

The news is likely to delight tour operators, which have been pushing hard for the removal of the Balearic Islands from the risk list. 

“The hotel industry has been preparing intensively to offer safe and responsible holidays there,” TUI Germany boss Marek Andryszak said this week.

After news came through of the new classification, Andryszak told Bild newspaper that “nothing now stands in the way of the Easter holidays in Mallorca, and our teams have prepared accordingly”.

TUI now wants to start flights to Mallorca from Hanover, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf as early as March 21st.

Currently, most hotels on the Balearic Islands are still closed for the off-season and due to the pandemic. But TUI said on Friday that the first major hotels on Majorca will start operations from next weekend. Since the beginning of March, restaurants, cafés and pubs have been allowed to reopen their outdoor areas in the town until 5pm.

Last week, the Istrian peninsula on the Croatian Adriatic was the first holiday region abroad to be taken off the risk list. 

READ MORE: What you need to know about Germany’s latest rules on foreign travel

Member comments

  1. So Germany wishes to encourage travel when we are still in lockdown? And when many of us have no financial aid – even when adhering to all the social distancing rules – and still not able to have access to a vaccine?

    1. All of your points are more pertinent than this point in about to make…but I also found it confusing that in the same Local newsletter update, the first article basically says that the German government is advising that official approval for holidays is not likely to come until the second half of May…while this article indicates that the German Government are sending a “clear message” that people can travel to Ibiza for Easter. Meanwhile in the background, we’re looking likely to be put back into a harder lockdown in the next 10 days “when” the incidence rises above 100. What’s going on 😂

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Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Since the start of Germany’s Oktoberfest, the incidence of Covid infections in Munich has risen sharply. Though a connection with the festival can’t yet be proven, it seems likely.

Munich sees sharp rise in Covid cases after Oktoberfest

Two weeks after the start of Oktoberfest, the Covid numbers in Munich have more than tripled.

On Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) reported an incidence of 768.7 for the city of Munich, though updated figures for the end of the festival are not expected until later in the week. Usually, on weekends and public holidays, there is a delay in reports.

In the entire state of Bavaria, the incidence value on Sunday was 692.5.

According to Munich’s public health officer, Beatrix Zurek, bed occupancy in Munich hospitals has also increased. Two weeks ago, 200 beds in Munich were occupied by Covid patients, whereas there are now around 350.

Though a relationship between the sharp rise in infections with Oktoberfest, which ended on Monday, can’t be proven at the moment, it seems very likely, according to experts. A significant increase in Covid incidences has also been shown at other public festivals – about one and a half weeks after the start. 

READ ALSO: Germany’s famed Oktoberfest opens after two-year pandemic hiatus

After a two-year break due to the pandemic, around 5.7 million visitors came to this year’s Wiesn according to the festival management – around 600,000 fewer than at the last Oktoberfest before the pandemic in 2019, when there were 6.3 million.

Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) took to Twitter to comment on the rise in incidence in Munich during the Oktoberfest. “This would not have been necessary if self-tests had been taken before admission,” he said.

“Compared to the price of a measure of beer, €2-3 (for tests) wouldn’t have mattered,” he said.

Even before the start of the Wiesn, he had spoken out in favour of people taking voluntary self-tests. Lauterbach stressed that now is the time for special measures against Covid.

“The development shows what will happen if the states wait too long with the mask obligation in indoor areas,” he added.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: Germany’s new Covid-19 rules from October

In neighbouring counties, where many Oktoberfest visitors came from, the number of Covid cases has also risen noticeably.  Beatrix Zurek said that it is unclear, however, how much of a role Oktoberfest played in these figures, as people are currently much more active socially overall, with concerts and other events also taking place throughout the state.

Christoph Spinner, an infections specialist at Munich’s Klinikum, has urged people not to be alarmed by the rising numbers.

“We had expected rising incidences here. We knew that there could be a doubling, tripling, even quadrupling,” he said.

He said that this is no cause for concern, as many people have been vaccinated or have also recovered from previous Covid infections, so any new infections are therefore usually mild.

The virologist advises people over 60 or with pre-existing conditions to get a second booster vaccination, but otherwise said people shouldn’t be alarmed by the rising incidences.