Spain Will Start Requiring PCR Tests from High-Risk Countries

Spain to require PCR tests

Throughout the world, it’s beginning to look like the winter holiday season is going to be particularly difficult for international travelers. As a case in point, Spain has announced the implementation of some rather significant travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 virus.

Beginning on November 23 and until further notice, all travelers who will be arriving in Spain from high-risk countries will be required to present evidence of a negative PCR test upon their arrival.

The results must be applicable to the 72 hour period prior to the traveler’s arrival in Spain through any port of entry. That would include visitors entering Spain by air, sea, or land.

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While the European Union (EU) has issued general guidelines for the entire EU region, each country can decide on how to set restrictions by risk category and country.

Within Europe, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will be classifying risk among European countries, using a “stoplight” coloring scheme (green, orange, or red). Assessments will be reviewed on a weekly basis, using the Covid-19 data from the prior 14 day period for each country. Currently (November 11), the only countries in Europe not classified as red are Norway, Finland, and some parts of Greece.

In a press conference, Spanish health minister Salvador Illa made clear that at this time, only travelers entering from red category countries will need to provide negative PCR test results.

As for document requirements, applicable travelers must provide their PCR via original paper documents or digitally (through the Spain Travel Health App). In addition, all results must be provided in Spanish or English.

Under ECDC guidelines, third world countries will receive “high risk” assessments if the country’s most recent infection rate is 150 people or higher for every 100,000 residents. Airlines and ferry companies are still being encouraged to confirm PCR tests have been performed prior to letting travelers board en route to Spain.

When travelers arrive in Spain, they will be subject to other government restrictions, including mandatory masks for anyone age six or older while in enclosed spaces and public areas.

While these measures might seem extraordinary, they are warranted as a number of countries throughout the world are seeing a spike in cases. It’s a good bet these measures will stay in place until there is evidence the data is improving or a vaccine comes to market.

Until then, travelers to Spain are expected to abide by the rules or be subject to fines or being denied entry.