April 23, 2021

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Traveling to Spain during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

3 min read

Editor’s Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on April 20.

(CNN) — If you’re planning to travel to Spain, here’s what you’ll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The basics

Spain has suffered greatly from Covid-19, with a high number of cases and deaths. After one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns in spring 2020, it reopened to visitors over the summer, but has since entered a state of emergency that is due to run until May 2021.

What’s on offer

One of Europe’s biggest hitters for good reason, Spain pulls tourists in by the millions thanks to its warm weather, laidback vibe and excellent food and wine. Plus, of course, there are some of Europe’s best beach resorts, mountains, and cultural cities such as Madrid, Seville and Barcelona.

Who can go

Travelers from most places in the European Union, alongside Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand and Uruguay are allowed to enter Spain without having to undergo quarantine.

Arrivals from the UK were restricted until March 30, 2021, except for Spanish nationals and legal residents of Spain. While this ban is now lifted, UK regulations forbid British people from traveling abroad for vacations until at least May 17.

The border has also been restricted between Spain and Portugal. Since March 30, people crossing the land border between France and Spain have had to present a negative PCR test.

Visitors from other countries are not permitted to enter, unless they gain special permission from the Spanish government.

What are the restrictions?

All travelers must complete a Health Control Form (HCF), which can be completed via the Spain Travel Health website or app. It will generate a QR code which must be shown on arrival in the country. Travelers arriving from ‘risk’ countries, based on guidelines from the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC) for essential reasons must also undertake a PCR test within 72 hours of departure and show proof of a negative result on entry. This list of countries changes regularly and should be checked before travel.

Health assessments take place on arrival into Spain, with a temperature check and visual examination as standard.

Spain’s health minister also announced that travelers arriving from Brazil and South Africa are being given an antigen test in the airport.
Additionally, all travelers to the Canary Islands, no matter where they’re arriving from, require an antigen test taken within 72 hours of departure in order to check into their accommodation.

What’s the Covid situation?

Spain has been in a state of emergency since the start of November 2020, with curbs due to be in place until May 2021. The country has seen over 3.4 million infections and over 77,000 deaths.

A month later, case rates were falling — on March 8, Spain reported the lowest weekend rise in cases since July last year — but numbers are now on the rise again, and authorities still urge caution amid fears of a third wave hitting Europe.

Over 12 million people have had their first vaccination in Spain and 7.12% of the population has been fully vaccinated as of April 20.

What can visitors expect?

Under the state of emergency, a national curfew is in place, effective from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. Masks must be worn in public at all times (children 5 and younger are exempt), while gatherings indoors and outdoors are limited to six people.

Restrictions vary by region, with some closing their internal borders to prevent transmission of Covid-19. This regional approach means that restrictions often change depending on the local government. Curfew times may change as a result.

Hotels are operating at limited capacity, limiting guest numbers to ensure social distancing. Smoking outdoors is banned where two meters’ social distancing cannot be maintained.

Over Spain’s Semana Santa — Holy Week, usually a busy time in Spain — traveling between Spain’s regions was restricted.

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Joe Minihane, Julia Buckley and Francesca Street contributed to this report

2021-04-21 05:39:52

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