As Spain opened its borders to Portugal and 14 non-European countries on Wednesday, its Ministry of Health reported 388 new cases of the novel coronavirus.
The number of daily cases was up slightly from Tuesday and the number of weekly infections — 1,902 — had risen significantly from 1,450 on June 20, the day before Spain entered into the so-called new normal.
Total COVID-19 infections in Spain now sit at 249,659.
On Wednesday, Spain and Portugal opened their mutual land border for the first time in over three and a half months.
Spain had opened itself to EU travelers on June 21, but not to Portugal after Lisbon requested more time in isolation.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa met at the border and were joined by the Spanish king and Portuguese president, both of whom led the opening ceremony.
“The border opening between our two countries is not a threat, but rather an opportunity for common development,” said Costa. “We all have to be very clear that until there’s a vaccine, we’re going to have to live with COVID. That’s the reality for Spain, Portugal and the rest of the world.”
At the same time, Spain, along with the rest of the EU, began allowing in travelers from 14 non-EU countries for the first time since lockdowns began.
Visitors from the permitted countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco and New Zealand will be allowed into Spain without quarantine.
Most of the world remains excluded, including people from countries like Turkey, Brazil, the US and India.
Despite the partial reopening, Spanish airports remain at just a fraction of their capacity during the busy summer holiday season.
Spanish daily El Pais reported that almost 1,500 flights, including both departures and arrivals, were scheduled for Spain’s airports on Wednesday, compared to around 6,500 flights during the same time last year.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health also reported eight more COVID-19 deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 28,363.
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