France has called on Spain to severely limit border crossings following a rise in infection rates in the neighbouring country.

Jean Castex, the French prime minister, also advised French against travelling to Catalonia due to "deteriorating sanitary indicators".

The move came after cases of coronavirus soared in three Spanish regions close to the border.

"We strongly advise French citizens against going to these areas until the health situation improves," said Castex during a visit to Paris' Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport.

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"We are, via the foreign minister, in discussion with Spanish and Catalan authorities to ensure that flows from Spain to France are as limited as possible."

Castex also announced health checks in French airports on all travellers from 16 "red zone" countries by August 1, as well as in ports.

Tourists from France normally head south to Spain at this time of year via Catalonia or other regions to spend their holidays.

Catalonia, Aragon and Navarre, which all border France, have seen the highest rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks.

There were 547 cases of coronavirus detected in Aragon and Catalonia together on Thursday.


Huesca, a city in Aragon, has 60 cases of the pathogen per 100,000 of population and health authorities said numbers were rising.

Norway will re-impose a ten-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Spain from Saturday after a surge in cases there.

There are currently about 12,000 Norwegians on holiday in Spain, according to Norway's public broadcaster NRK.

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A child gets a haircut at a barber shop in Madrid, Spain. Spain is a popular tourist spot, and a surge in new cases has neighbouring countries worried. Photo / AP
A child gets a haircut at a barber shop in Madrid, Spain. Spain is a popular tourist spot, and a surge in new cases has neighbouring countries worried. Photo / AP

Spain's health ministry data showed 2,615 new cases across the country on Thursday, compared with a daily average of just 132 in June.

There were 281 coronavirus outbreaks, the majority of which were under control, according to health authorities.

Margarita Robles, the Spanish defence minister, told Antena 3 television on Friday that despite the increase in cases "in principle it is not planned" to declare a second state of emergency.

Spain declared a national lockdown in March which was only lifted on June 21.

María José Sierra, Spain's deputy health emergency chief, conceded that the surge in cases since the country eased out of lockdown could mean Spain was now facing a second wave of infections.

"We could be in a second wave," she told journalists on Thursday.

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Spain's 17 regions, which control measures to halt the spread of the epidemic, have brought in a series of localised measures to try to stop coronavirus spreading.

In Catalonia, nearly 8,000 cases were diagnosed in the last 14 days – almost half of the 16,410 detected throughout the country – despite guidelines for residents of Barcelona and outlying towns to stay at home.

Josep Maria Argimon, the Catalan secretary of health, said next week new measures should be introduced to flatten the curve of new infections, but did not disclose what these might be.

"Barcelona is in a critical moment. We do not have the intensive care units full as in March nor a thousand patients in the hospitals but there is a dangerous rise in a place with a high density of population," he said.

Catalonia has 67 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 of population.

Madrid will introduce new measures next week to limit the number of people allowed to attend meetings and tougher measures to prevent crowding in bars and restaurants.

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Enrique Ruiz Escudero, the Madrid health chief, called for passengers flying to Madrid airport to undergo coronavirus tests before leaving their own countries after 77 travellers who landed in the Spanish capital tested positive for coronavirus in recent days.

In Castilla y León in northern Spain, authorities on Friday banned elderly people from leaving care homes.

The Balearic Islands government was conducting tests on 1,900 workers at Mercapalma, a food market in Majorca. None has tested positive.