December 3, 2020

What countries does it affect? Are all the tests worth it? Questions and answers about PCRs to travel to Spain


Spain will require a negative PCR done in the last 72 hours to travelers coming from risk countries, as made public by the Ministry of Health after the Interterritorial Council held yesterday. The measure, however, has raised some concerns and doubts that we try to resolve below.

When does it come into force?

The measure will be applied as of November 23 at all air or sea entry points to Spain. At any time, passengers may be requested to accredit the PCR result in Spanish or English, in addition to the Health Control Form (mandatory before boarding through the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Or the app Spain Travel Health-SpTH).

Which countries will be asked for a negative PCR before entering Spain?

A total of 65, but will be reviewed every 15 days. In the case of the European Union, all countries will be required to be considered red or gray risk zones in the so-called “European traffic light”. Red corresponds to the states that have reported an incidence of more than 150 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a positivity of more than 4% in 14 days. The gray one, to those for whom insufficient information is available. All member countries, except Finland, fall into one of these two colors.

In the case of third countries, the inclusion criterion will also be a cumulative incidence greater than 150 per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days. At this time, 37 states comply: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Bahrain, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cape Verde, Colombia, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, United States, Russia, Georgia, Gibraltar (United Kingdom) , Guam, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, North Macedonia, Morocco, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Palestine, Panama, French Polynesia (France), Puerto Rico, United Kingdom, San Marino, Saint Martin, Serbia, Switzerland, Tunisia and Ukraine.

What countries in Europe are fighting?

Three. In addition to the aforementioned Finland, most of Norway and some islands of Greece.

Do I need a PCR to leave Spain?

No. That will depend on the country we are going to (These are the ones that prohibit or limit the entry of travelers from Spain since the summer), but in no case will it be required to leave our international borders.

How many infections are imported through airports?

Minister Salvador Illa assured in an interview last September that “the cases of COVID-19 that have arrived this summer through Spanish airports make up 0.02% of all travelers.” Another report from the Community of Madrid details that from May 11 to November 8, 192 imported cases were detected, mostly through the Barajas airport, which represents 0.09% of the total positives. However, the Government justifies this measure as a way to unify the surveillance and health control mechanisms of the borders with the rest of Europe.

Is another type of test valid than PCR?

No, PCR is the quintessential diagnostic test in the European Union. In addition, the negative result must be proven in paper or electronic format and that it was made within 72 hours prior to the trip. Neither rapid antibody tests, rapid antigen detection tests nor high-throughput serologies are valid for access across our international borders.

What if a person arrives in Spain without having taken the test? Can you be fined?

Yes, you will face a penalty and, in the case of third countries, you may even be denied entry. The fines are governed by what is established by the Public Health Law, ranging from 3,000 to 600,000 euros. In the event that the passenger does not have the negative PCR accreditation, they will be given a diagnostic test – it does not specify what type – at the airport or seaport itself, but then they will be fined.

What about trips scheduled on the same day or in 48 hours? And the back and forth?

There are no clarifications in this regard in the resolution published today. It only contemplates an alternative to access without the negative certificate: passengers may be required to carry out a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and the result of which they must communicate to the Foreign Health Services. But they do not specify in what cases.

What if the country of origin only performs PCR on those who have symptoms?

In this case, there is also no clear answer. It is understood, as is the case in other areas in which it is necessary to prove the non-infection of COVID-19 and the health services are not in charge of carrying out the test, that it is carried out by the individual or the company, if it is a business trip.

Does this eliminate previous sanitary controls?

No. The resolution qualifies some of the temperature, documentary and visual control measures introduced in July, but which will continue to be carried out at airports and maritime accesses, as well as the proper completion of the form described above.

What exceptions are there to being able to travel without PCR?

Only passengers whose final destination is not Spain. In the same way that other countries exempt cross-border workers, diplomats, elite athletes in international competitions or journalists in the exercise of their work, these exceptions do not appear in the state document.

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