Travel: Spain considers reciprocal quarantine for UK visitors

Spain has appeared to contradict its policy on whether British visitors will have to quarantine on arrival in the country, leaving potential travellers confused over the rules.

Travel: Spain considers reciprocal quarantine for UK visitors
The first tourists arrived in Mallorca on Monday in a pilot scheme with Germany. Photo: AFP

Spanish officials had said on that the need to quarantine would be dropped for all travellers from within the EU when Spain opens up its borders next Sunday.


But late on Monday, Spain’s foreign minister insisted that “reciprocity” was an issue and that Spain may have to impose a two-week quarantine on travellers from the UK in response to the UK government's quarantine requirement.

Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya told the BBC's HARDtalk programme: “We will be checking what the UK will be doing and we will be in dialogue with the UK to see whether or not we should be introducing reciprocity as they have different measures than the rest of the EU.”

But even with travellers poised to arrive from Sunday, the policy did not seem to be set in stone.

She described the situation as “fluid” and said officials would like to “properly engage in a dialogue with the UK authorities to make sure that we both take the message that best corresponds to the health situation, which today is a little bit better in Spain than it is in the UK”.

“Hopefully by the time we open our borders, the UK would have moved forward also,” she said.

On Sunday, Spain had announced that its borders (apart from that with Portugal) would be open and tourists from within the EU and Schenhen area would be welcomed from June 21st without the need for quarantine, with the Foreign Minister tweeting the announcement herself:

Earlier in the day the British Embassy in Madrid had confirmed that indeed British visitors would not be subject to quarantine under plans by Spain to open the country to tourism from June 21st.

Spain had originally proposed July 1st as the date to welcome back international tourists but brought forward the date by ten days in a bid to kickstart the  much needed tourism season and because evolution of the coronavirus crisis continued to remain under control.

More than 18 million British tourists visited Spain last year, accounting for more than a fifth of the overall total of nearly 84 million visitors, figures from the National Institute of Statistics show.

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US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.