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PORTUGAL

Spain-Portugal border closure extended until mid-April

Police checks at the border between Spain and Portugal will continue until at least April 17th in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus, with only those with a justified cause allowed to cross.

Spain-Portugal border closure extended until mid-April
Photo: Miguel Riopa/AFP

The measure published on the Spanish Foreign Ministry’s website over the Easter holidays means people crossing the border between the two Iberian nations will only be able to cross through authorised border check spots and during the opening hours established.

“The epidemiological situation in Spain and Portugal suggests that we should keep the preventive measures restricting mobility between both territories in place. After consultation with Portuguese authorities, it has been decided that we maintain controls at the internal land border between both countries after Easter,” reads Spain’s latest official government bulletin.

According to the statement, people authorised to cross the border include Spanish citizens and their spouses, parents or children, provided they are travelling to meet with one of these family members.

The Spain-Portugal border has been closed since January 30th. Before the latest government announcement, it was due to reopen on April 6th.

Residents in Spain who can prove their residency here, students studying in Spain, EU/Schengen area nationals that are returning to their home countries are also allowed to cross.

As can cross-border workers, many of whom have been openly critical about the difficulties the border closures have caused them, which instigated the Spanish government to open two more border check posts in March in Vinhais close to Zamora and Ponte da Barca in Galicia.

Finally, those who can prove force majeure reasons for crossing the border with the necessary documentation to accredit it, as well as foreign personnel accredited as members of diplomatic or humanitarian missions or consular offices, can also cross.

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COVID-19 RULES

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Spain on Saturday eased Covid entry rules for unvaccinated tourists from outside the European Union, in a boost for the key tourism sector ahead of the peak summer holidays.

Spain eases Covid entry for unvaccinated tourists

Until now travellers from outside the bloc — including Spain’s main tourism market Britain — could only enter with proof of vaccination or recovery from Covid-19.

But as of Saturday visitors from outside of the EU will also be allowed to enter Spain with a negative Covid test result, the transport ministry said in a statement.

PCR tests must be carried out in the 72 hours prior to departure to Spain or an antigen test 24 hours prior to departure.

Tourism Minister Maria Reyes Maroto said the “new phase of the pandemic” meant the country was able to relax the rules by equating non-EU travellers with those of the bloc.

“This is excellent news, much awaited by the tourism sector, which will make it easier for tourists outside of Europe to visit us during the high season,” she added in the statement.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from submitting any type of certificate.

With sunny beaches and a rich architectural heritage, Spain was the world’s second most visited country before the pandemic, with 83.5 million foreign visitors in 2019.

But international travel restrictions related to the pandemic brought Spain’s tourism sector to its knees in 2020 as it welcomed just 19 million tourists.

The figure rose to 31.1 million in 2021, far below the government forecast of 45 million arrivals.

READ ALSO: Spain lifts Covid-19 checks at French border

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