Spain modifies Covid-19 test requirements for travellers

The Spanish Health Ministry has changed requirements for compulsory testing for arrivals by sea and air and from December 10th will accept a negative TMA test as well as a PCR.

Spain modifies Covid-19 test requirements for travellers
Moncloa announced that TMA tests will be allowed alongside PCR for new arrivals.

The modification after a flurry of complaints by travellers and those within tourism and airline industry who insisted the compulsory negative PCR test was making travel difficult.

Since November 23rd Spain has required travellers from more than 65 countries deemed “high risk” to present a negative PCR test before travel that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.

The tests had to be presented in English or Spanish with the travellers full name and identification number in order to be allowed to board and those arriving without it faced a fine of €6,000.

But people complained that not only were the tests very expensive but that it was difficult to find a service that guaranteed the results in time especially over a weekend or bank holidays.


On Wednesday, Spain’s government announced modifications to the entry requirements and said alongside a PCR test, they would also accept a negative TMA (Transcription- Mediated Amplification), a more rapid form of testing that gives results usually within two hours and typically costs less than €100. These tests are known as LAMP tests in the UK.

Both tests have a very similar use of coronavirus detection. The samples are taken with a ‘long swab’ that is inserted into the nose to look for the genetic material of the patient and then if there are traces of coronavirus, amplify and measure them.

The new rules were published in the Official State Gazette on Thursday when they will come into force.

These TMA tests are cheaper and the results come back faster than standard PCR testing.

These tests will now only be required by those over the age of 6 and can also be presented in French or German as well as either Spanish or English.

However the government stopped short of allowing antigen tests arguing that they were still not reliable enough.

But in the regional government of Spain’s Canary Islands announced that it would pass a decree allowing tourists to enter the territory with just a negative antigen coronavirus test,  rather than a PCR test.

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











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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”