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COVID-19

Travellers face €6,000 fine for arriving in Spain without negative Covid test

Travellers from high risk countries arriving in Spain by sea or air will face fines of up to €6,000 if they disembark without a negative PCR test.

Travellers face €6,000 fine for arriving in Spain without negative Covid test
Photo: AFP

Spain’s government announced last week that those arriving from some 65 countries currently considered ‘high risk’ for coronavirus would have to show a negative result on a test carried out within 72 hours prior to arrival.

The new rules stipulate that airlines and ferry/cruise companies face responsibility for ensuring travellers have the correct test documentation before check-in but the foreign minister insisted individual travellers will be liable and will have to pay the penalty and take a test locally.

“These are serious fines, deterrent fines; it’s not about the money,” Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha Gonzalez Laya said in a in interview with Antena3.

“At any time, the passenger may be requested to accredit the test result. The document must be the original, written in Spanish or English, and may be presented in paper or electronic format,” Gonzalez Laya said.

“While the numbers do not present a problem, for now, we need to ensure that they won’t create a problem in the future either. The measures are aimed at building trust and gradually opening up areas for safe free movement,” the minister said.

The list of high risk countries is drawn up according to criteria set by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control and updated every 15 days.

Testing is only required for all those arriving at Spain's airports or ports (including people who live in Spain and are returning home) and not those who cross over its land borders, according to details provided in the BOE.

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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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