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Tourism chief warns about opening international borders too quickly and risk health 

Spain must open its borders to international tourists only when it is safe to do so for both the holidaymaker and local residents or it could lead to massive repercussions, says the country’s de-escalation chief.

June is being widely tipped as the month when
foreign visitors might be let back into Spain but fourth vice-president, Teresa
Ribera says it is more likely to be July and then on a gradual basis.

But she has stressed that a “premature
massive opening” would be an “irresponsibility” that could put the
Spanish population at risk from coronavirus.

“We have to be very careful about how the
person who comes is not at risk, because they arrive at a safe destination, and
at the same time it does not pose a risk to the local population. Our idea is
that we can work on origins and safe destinations rather thinking of July than
June,” she told the Spanish press.

Teresa Ribera, minister responsible for
Spain’s de-escalation period, said outbreaks in China, South Korea and
Singapore “were associated with the importation of cases” from
abroad. 

“We do not want that for our population.
The data that is extraordinary in the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands or
Andalusia offer us security today, when there is no mobility between provinces,
when people who could potentially be infected do not come. If it is opened
massively, we could be incurring irresponsibility, ” she said.

She acknowledged increase was growing in the
return of Spanish holidays and was pleased that the European Union understood
tourism is “an important issue”. It was therefore important to have a
“global umbrella of co-ordination” as it was “difficult to think
of how to limit the movements of citizens from one autonomous community to
another without it”.

Teresa Ribera said she could imagine a
scenario where one location with a low incidence of coronavirus would be
“uncomfortable” with an influx of visitors from another area with
poor figures.

Spain is mid-way through its de-escalation
plan with some regions, including parts of the Canary Islands and Balearics,
more advanced than the others because of a low or nil death rate and low
infections. The Canary Islands are being widely tipped as one of the first
holiday  locations to open its doors to foreign tourists, including the
huge British market.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has just extended
the State of Emergency until  June 7th and the country’s 14-day quarantine
rule for people coming into the country will remain in place until then. There
has been no official announcement as to when that will be lifted.

Spain’s coronavirus death toll is nearly
28,000.