Spain ‘imports’ 104 Covid-19 cases from overseas despite travel restrictions

Spain 'imports' 104 Covid-19 cases from overseas despite travel restrictions
Photo: AFP
Despite the travel restrictions and safety measures in place at airports around the world, 104 passengers who landed in Spain in the past month have tested positive for Covid-19, most of them from the US and Latin America.

The news comes as Spain prepares to welcome tourists from Europe by July 1st (potentially earlier if an agreement is reached between Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez and his EU counterparts). 

The head of Spain's health emergencies' committee Fernando Simón told journalists on Thursday that most of the 104 people who tested positive upon arrival at Spanish airports were from the United States and Latin America that are still recording high daily infection rates.

The ‘imported’ Covid-19 cases represented between 10 to 12 percent of new infections in Spain since May 11th, Simon said.

At present, only Spanish citizens, legal residents and workers, those who have a cross-border job, or people from international organisations who have come to help with Spain’s Covid-19 pandemic are allowed in.

“Many people with residence in Spain have family in Latin America or the United States and may return to Spain soon,” Simón warned, while assuring that so far “the coordination between Spain’s regional governments, foreign health ministries and Spain’s health service is very good and that all the contacts of these imported cases are being detected”.

Spain’s Health Ministry reported on Thursday that 156 new coronavirus cases had been confirmed in the previous 24 hours in the country, although the weekly trend remained stable with 245 cases and 32 deaths in the last seven days.

But the question of resuming flight routes with countries that are still struggling with a high Covid-19 infections rate remains, especially as summer is fast approaching and the country looks to get its all-important tourism industry back afloat.

The European Commission asked all EU countries on Thursday to reopen their borders to all EU citizens as of Monday, June 15th, a recommendation that was addressed in particular to Spain as it’s one of the countries that’s dragging its heels the most in this regard.

Despite pressure from Brussels, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has reiterated he will keep the quarantine of 14 days for people who arrive in Spain at least until July 1st . 

Regarding the arrival of British tourists to Spain – 18 million of whom visited the country in 2019 – the Spanish government has said it won't consider a travel corridor with the UK, preferring instead a common EU criteria when it comes to tourism agreements.

Q&A: What we know about travelling to Spain this summer


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