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COVID-19

Covid-19: Spain demands negative PCR test on new arrivals from Nov 23

From November 23rd, Spain will demand a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours for all travellers arriving from countries with high coronavirus infection rates.

Covid-19: Spain demands negative PCR test on new arrivals from Nov 23
Photo: AFP

Spain’s Health Ministry announced the new policy on Wednesday explaining that it would use European Union criteria to define which countries are considered high risk.

“The basic reference will be the accumulated incidence per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days,” it said, without providing more details.

 

Health Minister Salvador Illa explained that there would be no testing at Spain's land borders but the requirement would be in place at airports.

“We will ask the airlines to collaborate and check for travellers’ PCR (swab) tests before boarding,” Illa said, adding that Spain had no plans to impose mandatory quarantine for foreign arrivals.

UPDATE: More details of the PCR test requirements were published in the State Gazette on November 12th

READ MORE: Which travellers must show negative Covid-19 test on arrival in Spain?

Under the EU system, the highest-risk countries are those with more than 150 cases diagnosed per 100,000 people in the past 14 days, or those with an incidence of more than 150 per 100,000 and with over 4 percent of all tests giving positive results.

This threshold is currently far below Spain’s own infection rates which stands at 600 cases per 100,000 people according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which lists the infection rates of each country below: 

 

Until now travellers arriving in Spain only needed to present a passenger locator form, and may be subject to a basic medical check including temperature check but there is no quarantine requirement currently in place.

However, the Canary Islands introduce compulsory negative Covid-19 tests from November 14th, which must be shown by all holidaymakers on arrival at their accomodation.

Spain has adopted measures in line with EU recommendations which means there are effectively no restrictions on those travellers arriving in Spain from EU/UK/ EEA countires but travel is limited from outside the EU unless there are exemptions in place. 

For more details read: What are the rules on travelling to Spain?

 

 

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COVID-19

Health experts advise end of masks on public transport in Spain

Spanish health experts have advised the government that the use of masks should no longer be obligatory on public transport, but no concrete date has yet been set.

Health experts advise end of masks on public transport in Spain

Health experts who advise the Spanish Ministry of Health have said that masks should no longer be mandatory on public transport, but with the caveat that the government should first wait and observe the epidemiological situation in China, which has experienced a surge in case numbers since it abandoned its strict ‘Zero Covid’ strategy at the end of 2022, following widespread civil unrest.

The use of masks on public transport has now been the norm in Spain for almost three years, since the start of the pandemic. 

Speaking to Ser Canarias, Darias said: “We are getting closer and closer [to the end of having to wear a mask], but we will have to see how things evolve in order to make that decision; obviously the epidemiological situation is getting better and better, but we have to see how the issue of China evolves”. 

Reports in the Spanish press suggest some kind of agreement was made during a meeting between the government and the experts in December that masks would no longer be compulsory after assessing the situation in China, however, there is still no fixed date.

Back in October 2022, Spain’s ‘Emergency Unit’ suggested that mask rules would not be reviewed until March 2023 at the earliest, but more recently it said that it does not seem necessary to wait for March to remove the mask rule. 

According to recent Ministry of Health figures, just 2.79 percent of hospital beds in Spain are taken up by Covid-19 patients.

READ ALSO: Face masks to remain mandatory on public transport in Spain until March 2023

The use of masks indoors in Spain ceased to be mandatory on April 20th, 2022, after almost two years, however, they have remained mandatory in hospitals, pharmacies and, crucially, also on buses, metro, trains, planes and taxis.

While the mask rules have been strictly enforced in some places in Spain such as Seville and Valencia, in other cities such as Barcelona, many people refuse to wear them, despite the regulations still officially being in place. 

READ ALSO: Spain now requires Covid certificates for arrivals from China

In China, figures suggest that almost 60,000 people have died as a result of Covid-19 in a single month amid the spike in cases following the end of the country’s draconian restrictions. In response, Spain reintroduced health control checks for travellers arriving from China. 

It seems that Darias and the Spanish government are waiting to see how the situation plays out in China first, but all the indications and expert advice seems to suggest that masks will no longer be mandatory in public transport sometime very soon. 

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