Junta proposes Covid-19 testing for foreign visitors in bid to get tourism restarted

Arriving passengers.
Arriving passengers. / F. Torres
  • Arriving plane passengers this week have had to pass through two checkpoints at the airport before starting a 14-day quarantine

The Junta de Andalucía regional government has proposed to Madrid opening up international tourism by scrapping the 14-day quarantine announced last week and implementing temperature controls at airports and giving coronavirus tests to foreign visitors.

The regional minister for Health and Families, Jesús Aguirre, confirmed following a Cabinet meeting in Seville on Thursday that the proposal had already been submitted to central government and is not dissimilar to the strategy being imposed in other countries.

According to Aguirre, these controls could be implemented in Andalucía's main airports (Malaga-Costa del Sol and Seville) and would give the region's key sector a massive boost.

Juan Marin, regional minister for Tourism, for his part, stressed that it was time to end the "wrong" decision of the government to impose a quarantine on new arrivals. "[It] makes no sense if it is intended to revive the sector. There are other ways, such as the methods we are proposing in Andalucía."

First quarantined visitors

The first people to arrive in Malaga under the new restrictions touched down on Saturday (all flights on previous days were cancelled) on two flights from Oslo and Stockholm.

Arriving passengers, around 100 in total, were made to pass through two checkpoints. At the first, they were given a quick medical examination, including taking their temperature, and at the second they were asked about the purpose of their visit and reminded of their obligation to self-quarantine for 14 days.

"This quarantine is incompatible with any type of trip. No one from the EU is going to choose to come to Spain like this," said tour operators Freddy and Mia, arriving from Sweden.