CORRECTION: A previous version of this article indicated that PCR tests would be needed to pass into Spain by land, the health checks have only been announced at airports and sea ports
ALL travellers arriving in Spain will have to present a negative PCR coronavirus test.
The Government announced its plans today to apply the new measure from November 23.
The PCR test must have been performed within the previous 72 hours before arrival, and it will be checked at sea and air borders.
Those who show a negative test but still show symptoms of COVID-19 will continue to be taken aside for further testing.
Pedro Sanchez’s Government had refused to enforce travellers to show negative tests to enter Spain despite intense pressure from Madrid leader Isabel Ayuso.
It came as a study found only 0.33% of cases came through the Barajas airport in the capital.
The PSOE leader had insisted on an EU wide initiative but has finally caved today, probably in an attempt to lessen the risk of mass contagion in any future re-opening to tourism, possibly at Christmas.
But how will the process work?
The PCR test will be included in the existing health form that must be filled out by all travellers entering Spain from abroad.
Their temperature will also continue to be taken.
On the form, the traveller must vow to carry the test result with them, and it must be written in Spanish or English.
It can be carried in paper or digital format, although the Government wants the whole process to be as digital as possible.
The tourist or traveller is advised to complete the travel form online before boarding, by visiting www.spth.gob.es or through the Spain Travel Health-SpTH app.
The Ministry of Health warned today however, that a negative PCR will not guarantee entry in the presence of symptoms.
“Those passengers who, after going through the temperature, visual or documentary controls, it is determined there is a suspicion that they may suffer from COVID-19, will undergo a diagnostic test at the airport, upon arrival in Spain,” said Health Minister Salvador Illa.
What countries are affected?
The Spanish Government will judge EU and Schengen countries or zones by referencing the criteria laid out in the EU Recommendation 2020/1475, of October 13.
This involves three main criteria; The incidence rate of the past 14 days i.e. how many cases on average per 100,000 inhabitants’, the number of PCR test being performed per 100,000 people and the percentage of those which are coming back positive.
All third countries will be judged by their number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants, although a limit has not yet been set.
Travel agencies, tour operators and air or maritime transport companies and any other agent that sells tickets will be obliged from November 23 to inform their clients of the need to have a negative PCR test to be able to make the trip.