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COVID-19

Spain restricts travellers from Brazil and South Africa over virus fears

Spain has announced that from Wednesday it will restrict arrivals from Brazil and South Africa by air to try to reduce the spread of new coronavirus variants.

Spain restricts travellers from Brazil and South Africa over virus fears
Photo: AFP

Only legal residents or nationals of Spain and the neighbouring microstate of Andorra will be allowed in from Brazil and South Africa, government spokeswoman Maria Jesus Montero told a news conference.

Passengers stopping in Spain while on their way to another country will be allowed to enter as long as they will remain for less than 24 hours and do not leave the airport, she added.

The new rules will take effect on Wednesday and will remain in force for two weeks although it could be extended depending how the pandemic evolves, the minister said.

Madrid has since the end of December banned arrivals by sea and air from Britain except for residents or nationals of Spain and Andorra because of the discovery of a new more contagious virus strain there last year.

This strain, which has led to a surge in infections in Britain in recent months, is one of several virus variants have been identified since the pandemic began last year.

Another strain, known as E484K, detected initially in South Africa and on subsequent variants in Brazil and Japan, has raised greater alarm among researchers over its possible impact on immunity.

Spain has been hard-hit by the pandemic, recording nearly 60,000 deaths from over 2.8 million cases so far, including 350 of the strain detected in Britain.

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TRAVEL NEWS

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Authorities in the USA have announced the end of the Covid-testing requirement for arrivals from Europe, meaning that fully vaccinated people will soon be able to travel between Europe and the US without needing pre-travel tests.

US to end Covid testing requirement for travellers from Europe

Most of Europe had dropped the testing requirement for fully-vaccinated arrivals in the spring, but the US has maintained the requirement to show proof of a negative test for all arrivals.

However on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it would not renew the testing requirement.

The new rule is expected to come into effect at 12.01 Sunday EDT, until then passengers will still need to show a negative Covid test before they can board a plane to the US.

The US currently bars unvaccinated travellers from entry – although this does not apply to US citizens, US residents or those travelling for essential reasons – there was no announcement on lifting this restriction. 

The CDC said that testing requirements could be reinstated if new variants of Covid emerge, and added that it continues to recommend pre-travel testing. 

Covid travel rules vary between individual countries in Europe, but most countries now only require pre-departure tests for unvaccinated travellers. Check the rules of the country you are travelling to for full details. 

To be counted as ‘fully vaccinated’ travellers must have received both doses of an EMA-approved vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca (or a single dose of Janssen).

If their vaccination was more than nine months ago, they need a booster shot in order to be considered fully vaccinated – people who have had a booster do not need a second, even if their booster shot was more than nine months ago.

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