Germany voices ‘great concern’ at virus spike, issues Spain warning

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s disease control agency voiced “great concern” yesterday over rising virus numbers in the country as authorities issued a travel warning against parts of Spain.

“We must prevent that the virus once again spreads rapidly and uncontrollably,” Robert Koch Institute head Lothar Wieler told reporters.

“The latest developments in the number of COVID-19 cases are of great concern to me and all of us at the RKI,” he said.

Germany has fared better than many of its neighbours in suppressing the virus, but Wieler urged citizens not to squander the progress following a spike numbers in recent weeks.

“It’s in our hands how the pandemic evolves in Germany,” Wieler said, calling on Germans to stick with prevention measures such as washing hands and keeping a safe distance.

Face masks should be worn not only indoors, but also outdoors, if the recommended 1.5-metre distancing cannot be maintained, he said, in a subtle update of the prior advice.

The stark warning comes as countries grapple with a surge in infections, fuelling fears of a dreaded second wave.

Holidaymakers returning from abroad have stoked particular concern.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry updated its travel advisory yesterday, recommending against travel to three regions in northern Spain grappling with renewed outbreaks.

“Non-essential, tourist travel to the autonomous communities of Aragon, Catalonia and Navarra are currently discouraged due to renewed high levels of infections and local lockdowns.”