From November 23rd, Spain will require international travellers to present a negative PCR result tested in the last 72 hours if they come from a country with a high coronavirus risk. This was communicated by the Ministry of Health last Wednesday to the Interterritorial Health Council. This new measure will be added to the temperature and visual control, which was quite flexible with the entry of travelers at airports. The need for a maximum three day old PCR test will ban people who test positive from entering, although according to health authorities there were not many recorded so far. It will be necessary to carry an original accreditation in Spanish or English according to which the result of the diagnostic test has been negative.
Which are the countries with a high coronavirus risk? The Health Department has referred to a European Union recommendation (published on October 13) on free mobility in the countries of the Union and the Schengen area. This document establishes that the criteria to be taken into account are the following: the accumulated incidence (number of cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days), the positivity rate, and the number of tests that have been done per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 7 days. The epidemiological situation of each country is then classified using four colors: green if the cumulative incidence (CI) is 25 or less, and the positivity is less than 4%; orange if the CI is 50 or less, with a positivity of more than 4%, or if the CI is between 25 and 150 but the positivity is less than 4%; red if the CI is 50 or more and the positivity is 4% or more, or if the CI is greater than 150 per 100,000 inhabitants; and gray if there is not enough information to evaluate the criteria.
This EU agreement stipulates that, as a general rule, member states will not place restrictions on free movement in countries that are green. Spain has informed that it takes this agreement as a reference, so it is understood that it will respect this condition. The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, is expected to appear this afternoon to explain which states will be affected by this new measure. The map with the colours of each country, according to the document of October 13, will be updated regularly on the website of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Today, most European countries are red because they have had more than 150 CI cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days. In the case of non-EU countries, the Ministry of Health has reported that the cumulative incidence in the last 14 days will be the basic reference for labelling them as risky or not.
Travel agents, tour operators, and air and sea transport companies, as well as all other agent marketing tickets, will have to inform travellers that a negative PCR test result is required for travelling. These airport controls are measures that the Partido Popular had been asking the Spanish government for months. The government now adapts to the European protocol in order not to have different mechanisms. The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, has reacted to the news swiftly: "A country that does not take care of its borders does not make itself respected. Nobody likes to step on a territory that does not provide security. And even more so in a pandemic", she said in a tweet.