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.
El @boegob publica hoy la resolución que
1️⃣ Añade la TMA como prueba diagnóstica, junto a PCR,para entrar en España desde países de riesgo
2️⃣ Exime de la prueba a menores de 6 años
3️⃣ Permite que los test se presenten también en alemán o francés#COVID19 https://t.co/hYmKcBKihW pic.twitter.com/sESevMrGii
— Salvador Illa Roca/❤️ (@salvadorilla) December 10, 2020
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.
? Los menores de 6 años provenientes de zonas de riesgo, no tengan que acreditar resultado negativo por pruebas diagnósticas para entrar en España.
— Ministerio de Sanidad (@sanidadgob) December 9, 2020
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.