Anyone coming across the land border from France into Spain will have to present a negative result for Covid-19 from a PCR test taken in the last 72 hours, the Spanish government’s Boletín Oficial del Estado (BOE) has announced.
The measure, which comes into effect on Tuesday 30 March, applies to anyone aged seven and over, and comes as Spain ramps up restrictions in the hope it can avoid a surge in Coronavirus cases over the Easter period.
The Easter restrictions in Spain are in place from 26 March until 9 April, during which no travelling from region to region is allowed. Furthermore, social gatherings should be a maximum of 4 people for indoor public spaces, and 6 people for outdoor public spaces. In private dwellings, gatherings must only be between co-habitants.
With the announcement in the BOE, it is the first time that such a requirement has been imposed by Spain on those crossing the land border with France. Until now, it has only been required for arrivals by air.
‘They must have a PCR test (RT-PCR), a TMA test or another type of diagnostic test for SARS-CoV-2 based on equivalent molecular techniques, with a negative result, carried out in the 72 hours prior to arrival,’ the BOE said.
Only those working in transportation and cross-border workers will be exempt, along with those who live in the border zone as long as they remain within a 30km radius of their home.
This coming Easter week, the Spanish government has agreed on a perimeter closure of its regions in order to reduce movement across the country and to contain the spread of Covid-19.
However, the restrictions do not apply to the border Spain shares with the rest of the European Union – and non-essential travel is currently permitted to and from the country from other EU States.
Last week saw thousands of German tourists flocking to Mallorca, with tens of thousands more planning to enjoy an Easter break in the Balearic Islands – whilst citizens living on mainland Spain are not allowed to travel there during Easter, due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions.
Last Monday, the European Commission asked Spain for ‘coherency’ with regards to the travel restrictions within its own national territory and with respect to journeys to and from other European countries – underlining that the risks linked to the spread of Covid-19 are similar – in the case of both internal and cross border travel.
Latest Coronavirus figures in Spain [from Friday 26 March] show that the incidence rate of new cases has risen slightly for the seventh consecutive time. Until mid-March, the number of infections had been falling but has started to climb again, with the health ministry’s data showing 7,586 new cases in 24 hours on Friday, raising the overall number to 3,255,324 and now more than 75,000 deaths.
In France, daily cases have nearly doubled since the start of March, reaching over 45,000 on Thursday, raising the overall number to around 4,466,000 with more than 93,000 deaths.
With its bars and restaurants open despite the 11pm curfew, Madrid has reportedly become a sought-after destination for leisure-starved Europeans, particularly those from France.
Spain has also lifted the ban on arrivals from the UK and it will take effect after 6pm on 30 March for those who are not residents in Spain nor Spanish passport holders. All arrivals will, however, still have to provide proof of a negative PCR test upon entry to the country.