MAPS: Which cities in Spain have the highest rates of infection?

There are at least 34 cities in Spain where the infection rate is described as "alarming" by health authorities.

MAPS: Which cities in Spain have the highest rates of infection?
Coronavirus hotspots in Spain right now.

Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday that the state of alarm declared in the Madrid region last Friday will remain in place until there is a significant drop in coronavirus transmission rates.

The criteria to introduce restrictions included a cumulative incidence rate of above 500 cases per 100,000 people over a 14 day period and would be applied to those cities with a population above 100,000.

But despite Madrid’s rate falling to below 500 cases per 100,000 from a peak of 750 according to data reported by the Madrid health authorities, Spain's Health Minister insisted that wasn’t enough.

“The cumulative incidence has to drop a lot more, not just below 500 cases, but to below at least 200, and ideally below 100,” he said.

Looking at the figures across Spain reveals that at least 34 cities have an incidence rate above the 200 threshold.

Of the 63 cities that have above 100,000 residents in Spain there was no up-to-date information for nne of them because of regional authorities in  Aragón, Baleares, Cantabria, Castilla y León, Extremadura and Galicia had not reported the data. 

But of those that did post data, 34 cities reported a cumulative incidence rate of at least 200 cases per 100,000 people. 

Click on the interactive map below to see the data for each city with dots ranging from yellow to red to illustrate the infection rate from lowest to highest. Green dots show those cities for which there was no recent data to compare.  




Under existing Health Ministry’s rules,  a municipality with a population above 100,000 must impose new restrictions if all of three conditions are met and these are: if the cumulative incidence of Covid-19 over 14 days rises above 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants; if more than 10 percent of PCR tests conducted in the zone are confirmed positive and if a threshold of 35 percent of intensive care beds are occupied by coronavirus patients.

So far only Madrid and nine satelite towns around it have been confined under the state of alarm but authorities in Castilla y León introduced confinement measures in the municipalities of León, Palencia and San Andrés del Rabanedo under the orders approved by a majority of regional communities two weeks ago. 

Navarra has introduced new restrictions limiting  gatherings to six people, and closing bars and restaurants by 10 pm as well as limiting their capacity to 30 percent, but they have stopped short of a perimetre lockdown in Pamplona, the city with the highest infection rate in the whole of Spain.

Catalonia is preparing to announce new restrictions after a spike in infections in Barcelona and across the northeastern region while in Andalusia, health authorities imposed restrictions on university students in Granada after a surge of infections were blamed on students flouting social distancing rules during weekend parties. 

The Andalusian government has also increased restrictions on movement in the municipality of Écija in Seville due to an outbreak and will close bars and restaurants in Sierra de Yeguas in Málaga. 

To find out the cumulative incidence rate (IA in Spanish) in any municipality in Spain consult this interactive map produced by below.



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FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

There has been some confusion in the Spanish and English-language press following the announcement this week that Spain has scrapped its Covid health travel form. Here’s what Brits, Americans and other international travellers need to know about Spain’s existing travel restrictions. 

FACT CHECK: Do you still need Covid documents to travel to Spain?

(Scroll down to the bottom if you want the quick answer).

In recent days, Spanish authorities have made two important announcements regarding the country’s Covid-19 entry rules for foreigners. 

Firstly, Spain extended until November 15th the requirement that non-EU visitors must show a Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery certificate to enter the country. 

A few days later, the Spanish government announced it would no longer require any international travellers to fill in and show its SpTH health control form.

For those who are unfamiliar with Spain’s complex Covid travel rules, the two changes seemed to contradict each other, or suggest that Spain had U-turned on its decision. 

Indeed, UK newspapers such as The Independent wrongly ran with “Spain finally drops all Covid travel restrictions”, a headline it has since amended. 

Even Spain’s national broadcaster RTVE stated that Spain had ditched the Covid passport requirement.

Both these statements are incorrect.

To clarify, a Covid-19 certificate or passport is one document, and Spain’s health control form is another; they are not the same. 

A Covid-19 certificate is issued by authorities in the country where you were vaccinated or tested, whereas the SpTH form was issued by Spanish authorities.

In any case, the SpTH health control form is now officially not required and will not have to be completed by any international traveller arriving in Spain by air or sea.

The discontinuation of this travel form means that non-EU tourists such as Americans, Australians and Canadians and all other non-EU travellers no longer have to complete this step before arrival in Spain.

For British tourists visiting Spain nothing changes in this regard as the UK has long been on the list of 48 non-EU countries with a certificate equivalency deal with the EU, which exempted their nationals from having to fill in Spain’s health control form. 

Now for the other important matter. 

Non-EU tourists visiting Spain still need to show proof of vaccination, testing or recovery to visit Spain. 

It applies to all non-EU travellers over the age of 12, but it does not apply to EU citizens or third-country nationals who reside in the EU.

This long-standing Covid travel rule remains in place until at least November 15th 2022.

There was no U-turn in this regard as there is no mention of the Covid-19 passport or certificate being ditched in the Spanish state bulletin (BOE) that focused on the cancellation of the SpTH form. 

Therefore, non-EU tourists such as Britons, Americans, Australians, Canadians or New Zealanders still have to show one of three documents to be able to enter Spain. These are: 

  • A Covid-19 vaccination certificate –  Your vaccination status must meet the Spanish authorities’ validity period requirements. If more than 270 days have passed since your initial vaccination, you need to show proof of a booster shot.
  • A negative Covid-19 test – This should be either a PCR taken within 72 hours prior of departure or an antigen test, taken within 24 hours prior of departure. 
  • A recovery certificate –  This must be dated within the last six months. You can use a medical certificate or recovery record to prove your Covid-19 status.

Face masks are also still required on planes which are bound for Spain, but you don’t have to wear one at the airport.