İrem UZUN -TDO- Spain’s borders are now open to all European Union countries except Portugal, as well as Schengen area members outside the bloc and Britain in a much-needed boost to the country’s tourism industry which accounts for more than 12% of the economy. Overseas visitors have begun arriving in Spain once more.

As the second most-visited country in the world, Spain is desperate to reactivate its vital tourism sector as soon as possible. The government has launched a publicity campaign called Spain for Sure in an effort to reassure visitors and fire up the industry. British tourists will be allowed in without having to quarantine, Spain said on Saturday, even though they will still be subject to 14 days isolation upon their return. Visitors from so-called third countries will be allowed back to Spain from 1 July, and Portugal will open its land border with the country on the same day. 

People can now freely move around the whole country to see relatives and friends for the first time since March 14, when the state of emergency was first declared.  “This freedom that we now have...that we don’t have to justify our journey to see our family and friend...this was something that we were really looking forward to,” 23-year-old Pedro Delgado said at Madrid’s airport.

Yet, on the other side of the coin, Spain’s total coronavirus cases rose to 246,272 during the first visits from the EU, Schengen zone and the U.K. In the last 24 hours, 141 new infections were detected, the Health Ministry said in a statement on its website. A total of 29 deaths have been reported in the last seven days, compared to 36 in Saturday’s seven-day tally, and the total now stands at 28,323.

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