Spain introduces two-week quarantine for everyone coming into the country

Spain introduces two-week quarantine for everyone coming into the country
  • The rule will apply to residents and non-residents and will only allow people to go out to buy food and medication

Anyone arriving in Spain will have to self-isolate for 14 days as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The order was published in the official state gazette (BOE) on Tuesday and comes into force on Friday 15 May.

The rule, similar to one announced this week in the UK, will apply to residents and non-residents coming from any other country and will last as long as the state of alarm is in force in Spain. This at present is until 24 May but the government wants to extend it further.

It is especially important to step up precautionary measures now, said the Ministry of Health, as the country gradually relaxes its lockdown conditions.

The director of the government's emergency response committee, Fernando Simón, explained that people coming from other countries could be a "risk". It was important to avoid unfair conditions, he explained, giving the example that currently someone in the Balearic or Canary Islands cannot travel to the mainland, yet someone can come in from another country.

Citizens arriving in Spain will have to spend the 14-day isolation period in their homes and only go out to buy food or medication, to go to the hospital or other force majeure reasons.

Use of a face mask will be compulsory on these outings, as will other hygiene and prevention measures, especially when in contact with other members of the household.

The only exceptions will be cross-border workers, transport drivers and health professionals travelling to work who have not been in contact with Covid-19 patients.

The authorities will be able to contact people in quarantine to monitor their condition and they will be told to contact the health authorities at any sign of symptoms and state that they have travelled from abroad.

Will this affect tourism?

The tourism sector has expressed its surprise at the measure, especially as it comes 24 hours before cross-frontier protocol for the summer is due to be discussed in Brussels.

The vice-president of Exceltur, José Luis Zoreda, spoke of the demand in Europe of people "wanting to come to Spain" and gave the example of a German tourist planning their holiday in advance, who would now choose Greece or Portugal where there are no quarantine obligations for visitors.

Travel agents and airlines will be obliged to inform travellers of the quarantine rules before they sell them their tickets. Airlines will have to provide a public health form called a Passenger Location Card.

Who can come to Spain?

For the time being, however, the quarantine rule will affect very few as the number of people currently coming in to Spain is low, due to border controls.

Only Spanish citizens and residents in Spain are currently allowed to cross the borders, as well as cross-border workers, and those with force majeure reasons to travel.