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Spain scraps Covid travel form – but jab, recovery or test rule remains

Spain is one of the last countries in Europe to maintain travel restrictions

Eleanor Sly
Wednesday 21 September 2022 10:43 BST
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Related: Spain to move from treating COVID-19 as a pandemic to an endemic illness

Spain has removed the requirement for British holidaymakers to complete a health declaration form and present it on arrival. But the country, which is by far the most popular destination for UK visitors, has kept its Covid travel restrictions in place.

All travellers over the age of 12 must still submit proof of one of the following: full vaccination; recovery from Covid; or a negative Covid test, either antigen or PCR.

The Spanish Ministry of Health posted the news on Twitter: “Remember. From today, 20 September, it will no longer be necessary to complete the health check form to travel to Spain or present the QR code of SpTH (Spain Travel Health) at the airport on arrival.”

Spain recently announced its restrictions would remain in place until mid-November. It imposes the standard EU rules for the validity of vaccinations: initial course completed no more than 270 days ago, or a booster with no time limit.

The move caused confusion, with some travellers wrongly inferring the abolition of the health control form meant an end to Covid rules.

Simon Calder, travel correspondent of The Independent, said: “This means an immediate end to the tedious form-filling for visitors to Spain. It may be that, as part of the overall softening of formalities, frontier officials do not ask for evidence.

“But crossing your fingers and hoping that is the case is not an acceptable alternative to following the rules. Airlines may refuse to carry passengers who do not possess the required certificate.”

Spain’s continued insistence on jabs, a recovery certificate or a negative test is against the flow of other European countries dropping all Covid travel restrictions.

The Dutch government announced on 17 September that it had suddenly scrapped all Covid travel restrictions. But Luxembourg and Slovakia also maintain Covid-related restrictions to entry.

The UK axed all Covid rules for travellers in mid-March this year.

Outside Europe, travel into a number of countries remains difficult without proof of vaccination – notably the US, which does not allow in tourists who have not been double-jabbed.

New arrivals to Canada must submit their vaccination status and may be randomly selected to take a Covid test after arrival – and, if it is positive, go into hotel quarantine for 10 days.

Elsewhere, tourists are still subject to onerous entry restrictions regardless of vaccination status, such as in Hong Kong, where all arrivals must go into hotel quarantine for three days, followed by four days of medical surveillance.

The news comes as US President Joe Biden declared the Covid pandemic to be over in CBS News60 Minutes programme which aired on Sunday.

Meanwhile, last week, the World Health Organisation announced that the end of the Covid-19 pandemic is “in sight.”

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