© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanau
© Reuters. Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hanau

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany declared regions in 11 European countries to be areas where there was an elevated risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus, while existing warnings about parts of Belgium were extended to cover the entire country.

In its list published late on Wednesday, the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases also declared the whole of France with the exception of the Grand Est region to be risk zones, the whole of Iceland, as well as Wales and Northern Ireland to be risk zones.

Risk zones were also declared in Estonia, Ireland, Lithuania, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia. Such declarations, which result when the prevalence of coronavirus infections exceeds 50 per 100,000 population over a week, are typically followed by the Foreign Ministry issuing a travel warning.

The latest warnings, a blow to hopes that a swift revival of tourism could give the continent’s pandemic-struck economies a boost, came as officials across Europe warned that a second wave of the virus was imminent.

Germany, traditionally Europe’s largest source of tourists, has warned against travel to the rest of the world since March, when the pandemic first struck Europe in earnest, but the warnings were lifted for the European Union and countries with close ties to it in June.

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