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German tourists party in Spain amidst pandemic

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Germany’s Health Minister, Jens Spahn, expressed concern on Monday after hundreds of German tourists were seen partying in Mallorca without masks or keeping a safe distance, fuelling fears of another coronavirus wave.

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”.

At a press conference in Berlin, Health Minister Jens Spahn said he understood that people wanted to cut loose on vacation, but said they risked undoing the progress made to contain the deadly virus by disregarding health measures.

“The images we’ve seen from Mallorca this weekend worry me,” Spahn said.

Situations where people do not keep the recommended 1.5 metres apart, drink from the same bottle, hug and “seek closeness” while partying and consuming alcohol, “all this of course increases the risk”, he said. “I’m not here to ruin the fun… but now is not the time for this.”

Mallorca’s sun-soaked beaches and vibrant nightlife make it one of Germany’s most popular holiday destinations. Thousands of Germans have flown there since EU countries reopened their borders to each other in June.

But concerns that visitors could spark a fresh coronavirus surge on the Balearic Islands prompted the regional government last week to announce hefty fines for those caught organising illegal parties or flouting rules on social distancing and face masks.

Germany’s Spahn warned that Mallorca “must not turn into a second Ischgl”, referring to an Austrian ski resort that became a COVID-19 hotspot and contributed to the spread of the pandemic across Europe- (AFP)

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