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COVID-19

Most of Spain’s regions to close borders ahead of long weekend to halt Covid-19 spread

Ten Spanish regions, including Madrid and Andalusia, have confirmed they will close their borders ahead of the All Saints' Day long weekend to try to halt a surge in coronavirus infections.

Most of Spain's regions to close borders ahead of long weekend to halt Covid-19 spread
Photo: AFP

Seven more Spanish regions announced on Wednesday and Thursday they would close their borders ahead of the All Saints' Day long weekend to try to curb the rapid rise of coronavirus infections in their territories.

That takes the total to twelve – Andalucía, Asturias, Aragón, Cataluña, Cantabria, the Basque Country, Castilla y León, Castilla y La Mancha, Madrid, Murcia, Navarre and La Rioja.

The regional authorities of these autonomous communities have now confirmed a perimetral confinement in their regions for those dates (from at least Friday October 30th until Monday November 2nd or longer), measures that they can implement under the state of alarm declared on Sunday by Spain’s central government.

The North African cities of Ceuta and Melilla will also apply this form of lockdown over the All Saints long weekend.

The five regions that have just joined the perimetral confinement list are likely to bring the measure into force on late Thursday or Friday. 

In the Balearic Islands and the Valencia region there are localised travel lockdowns but not a closed border policy for the entire region.

Only the governments of the Canary Islands, Extremadura and Galicia have decided not to adopt the measure.

Madrid is among the territories that will be implementing a perimetral confinement, but is requesting to do so on a day-by-day basis and not for a week.

Spanish families traditionally visit the graves of loved ones on the November 1st holiday to leave flowers.

As this year the holiday falls on a Sunday, Monday has been declared a holiday to create a three-day weekend.

Some six million people traditionally travel to other parts of Spain during the All Saints' Day holiday weekend and as a result the regional government of Madrid plans to close the region's borders from Friday until November 2, said the head of the region's government, Isabel Diaz Ayuso.

“We are aware that we must continue to reduce social contacts,” she told a joint news conference with the heads of the neighbouring regions of Castilla y Leon and Castilla y La Mancha who said they would shut their borders until Monday November 9, a bank holiday in Madrid.

Separately, the coastal regions of Murcia in the southeast and Andalusia in the southwest, popular destinations for residents of inland cities like Madrid during long weekends, said they would also shut their borders from Friday until November 9.

The move means no one will be able to enter or leave the regions during this period except for essential reasons such as seeking medical care or going to work.

“The pandemic is growing exponentially,” said the leader of the northwestern Castilla and Leon region, Alfonso Fernandez Manueco.

“We have to adopt measures, drastic measures which at the same time are proportional.”

Three of Spain's 17 regions — Navarra, La Rioja and the Basque Country — have already closed their borders earlier this month. The Basque Country also started restricting travel between its municipalities on Monday. 

Since exiting a strict national lockdown in June, coronavirus cases in Spain have soared, with thousands of infections diagnosed every day.

Hospitalisations, though lower than their March-April peak, are also on the rise.

“It is more than likely that we will surpass the record of hospitalisations of the first wave and that this will happen in a few days,” the head of the regional government of Andalusia, Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla, said in a televised address.

“As long as there is no effective treatment or vaccine against the coronavirus, we have no other way of trying to contain it than to limit people's movements.”

Spain last week became the first European Union nation to surpass one million confirmed Covid-19 infections, with the virus claiming more than 35,000 lives.
 

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COVID-19 RULES

What are Spain’s current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

Spain is currently experiencing an eighth Covid wave. For those who test positive during the summer of 2022, here's a reminder of all the rules and recommendations you need to be aware of, concerning asymptomatic, mild and serious cases.

What are Spain's current rules for asymptomatic and mild Covid cases?

No one wants to get Covid, particularly when the summer season is approaching and many have booked their annual holidays.

But if you do find that you test positive for Covid-19, here’s what you need to know about Spain’s current health rules. 

Whatever questions you have, from wanting to know if you still need to get an official test or inform your doctor, to whether you can go outside and if you need to wear a face mask, we’ve got you covered. 

Q: What if I get Covid but don’t have any symptoms?

A: If you are asymptomatic, in other words you test positive for Covid-19 but don’t experience any symptoms, then it’s not necessary to self-isolate and you are not required to quarantine at home.

Spain’s quarantine requirement for asymptomatic cases was dropped as of March 28th 2022.

However, the health body that advises Spain’s Health Ministry recommends that you still stay at home and rest and that if you do go out, you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week. 

Q: What if I have mild Covid symptoms?

A: If you have mild Covid symptoms, you fall into the same category as those who have no symptoms for Spanish health authorities.

This means that while it’s not mandatory to isolate at home, you should still rest, wear a mask indoors and outdoors and avoid social contact.

The obligatory quarantine for mild cases was also scrapped as of March 28th, 2022.

Q: What if I have severe Covid symptoms?

A: If you have serious Covid symptoms, Spain’s Health Ministry continues to require a quarantine period of seven days, meaning that it’s mandatory.

It is also still required for those classified as part of the high-risk or vulnerable population, which includes those aged 60 or older, immunosuppressed people and pregnant women. 

Q: Am I allowed to go outside if I have Covid?

A: Yes, as mentioned above, if you have mild or asymptomatic symptoms you are allowed to go outside while you have Covid. However, you should limit your contact with others for a week to make sure you’re not putting others at risk. You should aim to stay at home as much as possible until your symptoms disappear.

Keep in mind that you are highly contagious in the first few days of the illness, so you may want to avoid going out during that time.

Q: Can I go to events if I have Covid-19?

A: Yes, you can leave the house if you have Covid-19, but as you’re expected to limit your contact with others, going to a large event with hundreds of people is not recommended. You could unknowingly be putting vulnerable people at risk. Health authorities still recommend that you avoid gatherings for at least a week after a positive test. 

Q: Do I need to wear a mask if I test positive?

A: The Spanish Health Ministry has confirmed that those who have Covid must wear a mask for “ten days from the diagnosis” of the virus.

They should be worn indoors, as well as outdoors, if a distance can’t be maintained from others. Experts recommend using the FFP2 masks during this time because even if your symptoms are mild, you can still be contagious.

READ ALSO: How likely is it that Spain will make face masks mandatory indoors again?

Q: Can I go to work if I have Covid-19?

A: If you have mild or asymptomatic Covid-19, although the recommendation is to work from home or take sick leave, you can still go in.

However, the health authorities recommend that you wear a mask, avoid contact with vulnerable people and avoid enclosed spaces with little ventilation.

Q: Is it necessary to get officially tested?

A: No, it’s not necessary to get a PCR or antigen done at your local health centre or at a private clinic any more. An antigen test bought from a pharmacy and performed at home will suffice.

Only those with serious symptoms and high-risk groups should get tested now. Although you it’s not necessary anymore to confirm your infection with a test, it’s still useful to test yourself at home so you can avoid contact with others if it’s positive and know when you can get back to life as normal.

Q: Do I have to tell my doctor if I have or have recently had Covid?

A: No, it’s not necessary for everyone to call their doctor if they have Covid, because not all cases are being counted by authorities anymore.

You may, however, still need to call your doctor if you need to sick leave from work. Those in Catalonia will be given an automatic five-day sick leave if they have Covid symptoms, even if they don’t take a test.  

If you are over the age of 60, are immunosuppressed or are in a high risk group, it’s still a good idea to tell your doctor if you test positive.

Q: What do I do if I have come into close contact with someone who has Covid-19?

A: If you have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, it’s not necessary for you to take a test or to self-isolate.

The health authorities do recommend that you take precautions though, such as limiting social interactions, wearing a mask and avoid vulnerable people.

Remember that the days before you test positive, but after you have been exposed to the virus are when you are the most contagious. 

Q: What if I get Covid while on holiday in Spain?

A: If you have a mild or asymptomatic case of Covid-19 while on holiday in Spain, you don’t have to quarantine and you don’t have to inform the local health authorities, unless you are in a vulnerable category.

Like above, Spain’s Health Ministry only recommends that you stay at home and rest, that if you do have to go out you wear a mask indoors and outdoors, and that you keep social contact to a minimum for a week.

Different countries have different rules so you may not be able to travel home if you have Covid and may have to wait until you test negative.

READ MORE: What tourists should do if they get Covid while on holiday in Spain? 

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