The number of cases of COVID-19 continues to increase throughout the European Union, and the measures chosen by governments of all kinds continue to include restricting the mobility of citizens. Spain has not been left behind in this respect. The last legislative twist has come with provision 14049 of the BOE, published in the BOE on 11 November 2020 by the Directorate General of Public Health.
In short: it requires the presentation of a PCR with a negative result in the 72 hours prior to arrival in Spain from any country at risk. And this large group includes almost the entire EU, the United States, Argentina, Great Britain and Andorra.
The issue of health controls at points of entry into Spain has been a topic of discussion since before last summer, and this new provision has marked the new regulations in this regard. The first health controls at the borders began back on 29 June 2020, and the restrictions or obligations were extended by the Resolution of 24 July 2020. But just as the epidemiological situation has changed, so have the regulations.
Provision 14049 published on 11 November was the Spanish government's latest response in this regard.
Firstly, it should be noted that the European Union has agreed to apply a common approach. Until now, there had been a significant disparity in the health control models of each country and, therefore, the Council of the European Union has adopted Recommendation (EU) 2020/1475, published on 13 October 2020. It recommends a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the VOC-19 pandemic. And although it states that the restrictions should be applied in compliance with the general principles of Union law, in particular proportionality and non-discrimination and respect for the free movement of persons within the EU, the restrictions have reached out to the whole of Europe.
Of course, the measures applied by the Spanish government follow the explicit recommendations of the EU. Specifically, the most important points of this new regulation for travellers from foreign countries are the following:
- All passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea must undergo a health check before entering the country. These checks may include taking a temperature, a documentary check and a visual check on the passenger's condition. International passengers stopping over in Spain will not be included in this group.
- All passengers travelling to Spain must complete a public health form called the "Health Control Form" before departure. This can be done through the website www.spth.gob.es or the Spain Travel Health-SpTH application.
- A PCR with a negative result must be available, carried out in the seventy-two hours prior to arrival in Spain. If not, the passenger in question will be left waiting for the tests to be carried out as decided by the Foreign Health Services.
- Passengers who, following temperature, visual or documentary checks, are found to have a suspicion of VID-19 should be subjected to a PCR. In addition, passengers may be required to undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 within 48 hours of arrival. The results of this test must be communicated to the Foreign Health Service by the means indicated for this purpose.
- If the health assessment confirms the suspicions, if there is close contact ofCOVID-19, or if a positive result is obtained after a PCR, the health alert protocols for that passenger will be activated. These will be established in coordination with the health authorities of the corresponding Spanish autonomous community.
- The list of countries or areas at risk, as well as the criteria used to define them, will be reviewed every two weeks. Updates will be published on the website of the Ministry of Health —https://www.mscbs.gob.es/— or on the SpTH website: https://www.spth.gob.es.
- At the time of publication, the list included all EU territories - except for a few such as the Faroe Islands and Greenland, several Greek regions, other Norwegian regions and the Azores - and third countries including Great Britain (including Gibraltar), the United States, Colombia, Argentina, Andorra, Russia, Switzerland and Ukraine.
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