Travellers from high-risk countries must take a Covid test before coming to Spain from 23 November

Air passengers at Barajas airport in Madrid.
Air passengers at Barajas airport in Madrid. / EP
  • Those coming by air or sea will have to produce a negative PCR test taken in the 72 hours prior to arrival in either paper or digital format

From 23 November, the Spanish government will require all people arriving into Spain from high-risk countries by air or sea to demonstrate that they have tested negative for Covid-19 infection (via PCR testing) in the 72 hours prior to their entry into the country.

This policy was presented on Wednesday by Health minister Salvador Illa and comes, according to central government sources, as a result of pressure from the Madrid regional government which claims that unchecked people entering via Barajas airport were responsible for mass outbreaks in the area.

This claim has always been denied by the Health ministry, with the government claiming that only 0.33 per cent of cases came via Barajas. However, with the second wave of the pandemic gathering pace in the country, prime minister Pedro Sánchez has backed down and decided to tighten entry controls without any coordination with other EU countries.

Travel agencies, tour operators, air and sea transport companies and any other agent selling tickets will be obliged from 23 November onwards to inform their customers of the need to have a negative PCR in order to make the trip.

Health form

According to sources, the requirement for a negative PCR result will be included in the already existing health control form. In this document, travellers will have to declare having tested negative in the 72 hours prior to travel and will be required to produce the test results, which must be written in Spanish or English, in either paper or digital format.

That said, a negative PCR result won't guarantee entry to Spain. "Those passengers who after undergoing temperature, visual or documentary checks are suspected to be suffering from Covid-19 will have to undergo a diagnostic test at the airport on their arrival in Spain," said the Health ministry.

Which countries are considered high-risk?

To decide to which countries this requirement will apply, the government will look at a number of factors, principally the accumulated incidence of coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days.

The government has not yet specified what this threshold will be but it is understood that EU countries will be subject to different criteria from non-EU countries.