European countries reopened borders Monday after a three-month coronavirus shutdown, as fears linger of the virus’ next wave.
International visitors are still being kept away, and there was uncertainty over whether many Europeans will quickly embrace travel outside their home countries.
Spain allowed thousands of Germans to fly to its Balearic Islands without a 14-day quarantine in a pilot program designed to help authorities gauge what’s needed against possible virus flare-ups.
“This pilot program will help us learn a lot for what lies ahead in the coming months,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said. “We want our country, which is already known as a world-class tourist destination, to be recognized as also a secure destination.”
Germany and France dropped border checks nearly two weeks after Italy opened its frontiers.
“My appeal to all those who travel: Enjoy your summer vacation — but enjoy it with caution and responsibility,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said. “In the summer holidays, we want to make it as difficult as possible for the virus to spread again in Europe.”
Greece welcomed visitors Monday with passengers on flights from other European countries not having to undergo compulsory coronavirus tests.
The European Union’s 27 nations and other European states aren’t expected to start reopening to visitors from outside the continent until at least the beginning of July and possibly later.
Slovenia lifted travel restrictions with Italy, and the mayors of two towns on opposite sides of the border jointly removed a traffic sign that barred movement from one to the other. The towns of Nova Gorica in Slovenia and Gorizia in Italy are closely linked culturally and economically.
CORONAVIRUS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
There are more than 7.8 million confirmed cases globally and over 432,000 fatalities.
The head of the World Health Organization said more than 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been reported globally each day in the last two weeks, and countries that have curbed transmissions “must stay alert to the possibility of resurgence.”
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that it took over two months to reach 100,000 reported cases, now a daily norm. Each day, nearly three-fourths of the new cases come from 10 countries — mostly in South Asia and the Americas, he said.