HEALTH chiefs in the Balearic Islands say the region could have to be closed again to foreign tourists if the Covid-19 situation worsens.

Around 20 outbreaks of coronavirus have been reported in more than 10 parts of Spain a week after it re-opened its borders to international tourism.

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They include an outbreak at a Red Cross centre in Malaga on the Costa del Sol where the number of positives has reached 90.

Majorca, the largest Balearic island, was at the centre of a pilot scheme involving German holidaymakers which got off the ground a week before Spain re-opened to tourists properly last Sunday. 

Regional government health minister Patricia Gomez, whose remit also covers Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera, said yesterdaya new shutdown could not be ruled out.

She told respected Majorcan newspaper Diario de Mallorca: “We will definitely have small outbreaks of Covid-19.

“If we have an important outbreak among tourists this summer, we may have to consider closing the island again.”

Saying she was more concerned about a new outbreak this summer rather than in autumn, she added: “I’m more worried about summer in terms of us becoming more relaxed about security.

“We’ll have to see how the virus behaves and whether it is weakened by the heat. 

"I am concerned there will be more cases during the holiday season.”

She also hinted tourists who fall ill with coronavirus could be made to pay for their accommodation if they test positive after arriving.

They will have to be put up in apartments in places like Calvia which have been set aside for those needing quarantine but not hospital.

She told the paper: “We will bill health costs like we always do. Both for Europeans with a European Health Insurance Card and non-EU citizens.”

Asked who would be expected to pay quarantine accommodation, she added: “That is something we still have to look at.”

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