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Spain to introduce 14-day quarantine for international travelers

Coming on the heels of the UK's own quarantine announcement, the Spanish Health Ministry has announced that travelers from abroad will have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The requirement begins on Friday May 15 and will last throughout the duration of the State of Alarm.

These new measures may be extended by the government if other parties support such a move in the lower house of parliament, the Congress of Deputies. If the State of Alarm is extended for another two weeks, the travel restrictions will, in principle, continue to apply.

Health Minister Salvador Illa added on Tuesday that the quarantine will “very likely [extend] throughout the entire deescalation period,” which is scheduled to end in June 2020 if there are no new spikes in coronavirus transmission. Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Illa said that the goal is to ensure that “the enormous effort of these last nine weeks is not ruined because of one imported case.”

During the quarantine period, anyone coming into Spanish territory from another country will have to remain inside their home or rented lodgings. Trips outside will be limited to the purchase of essential products such as food and medicine, to seek medical assistance, and for other situations of urgent necessity. Face masks must be worn at all times.

Authorities may contact individuals in quarantine to check on their health status, and anyone who develops symptoms is instructed to call the regional health services. Travel agencies and transportation companies will have to inform prospective customers about these requirements when travel arrangements are made. Airlines will provide customers with a Passenger Location Card that passengers must have with them when they enter Spain.

Source: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-05-12/spain-to-introduce-14-day-quarantine-for-international-travelers.html

Posted by
4998 posts

I wonder how many folks had planned an open-jaw trip in the U.K. and Spain? Totally different situation now, if they still planned on going - and had quasi-long-term lodging arranged?

Talk about “living like a local!”

Posted by
7485 posts

During the quarantine period, anyone coming into Spanish territory from another country will have to remain inside their home or rented lodgings. Trips outside will be limited to the purchase of essential products such as food and medicine, to seek medical assistance, and for other situations of urgent necessity. Face masks must be worn at all times.

Better than Hawaii--- at least in Spain you can buy food

Posted by
4368 posts

It looks like the EU commission will be ruling the UK's quarantine plans if it does not apply the approach taken with France to the rest of the EU. So either the UK doesn't apply the quarantine rules to all EU countries or it reverses its decision regarding France. Spain may find itself in a similar position. If you insist on quarantine for people arriving outside of the EU but don't insist upon it for those that are then it seems nonsensical and pointless.

Posted by
2214 posts

Yes, I've seen testing is now being conducted at Athens airport. Unfortunately, in Spain testing has become a bit controversial as there have been a number of false positives/negatives (more than usual) due to faulty test kits procured from China. If Spain has the capacity to do mass testing at airports (which we do not have atm), what would happen to those deemed "positive", will they be turned away, will everyone on the same airplane need to quarantined anyway for risk of exposure? The reasoning given by the Health Ministry is that a 2 week quarantine across the board will leave less things up to chance, especially at this critical moment.

This 14-day quarantine measure will apply to all international travelers (EU included), with a few exceptions for specific types of workers. It even applies to repatriated Spaniards and legal residents of Spain. Cross-border workers, long-haul truckers, airplane crews and health professionals on their way to work are left out of the quarantine order, as long as they have not been in contact with anyone diagnosed with Covid-19.

Posted by
7598 posts

Saw this new quarantine on the French news. There was a segment interviewing beach town shop owners who had been counting on the French coming over the border. French beaches are closed.

Posted by
2214 posts

In Spain, most of our beaches are closed as well, depending on which phase a region is in. We also have air and maritime border controls until May 24, including land border controls with France to the north and Portugal to the west. Prime Minister Sánchez has said he would like to extend these new measures (including the quarantine) until June 29, if he can obtain the congressional backing for another extension of the State of Alarm.

Posted by
2575 posts

Our non-European friends might not be familiar with the inner-ways of how the EU works, so it's only fair to explain that, despite the EU is not a "sovereign subject" per se -the EU Parliament has no direct authority over the national parliaments, hence the reason the EU Parliament approves "directives" and not "laws"- the different treaties of the Union obligate the member countries to obey those directives and to implement them in their national code of laws within a given time frame.

An estimated 75% of the "national legislation" issued in each and every of the EU member countries is nowadays fruit of European directives -this is called shared-sovereignty, and one of the fundamental reasons the UK left.

Similarly, in general terms, the "opinions" emitted by the EU Commission (read "the EU government") -heavily influenced by the German and French governments- are the lead-up to "instructions" to the member states to do this or that.

I am saying all this because, besides the Spanish Pravda-like "El Pais", sources like Euractiv (mind me, the EU's own Pravda-like news source!) are a good read to understand what direction will take Europe (the EU members that is) as a group

In this sense, this is a piece of news regarding tourism in the EU in the next months just published today (May 13th): https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/commission-proposes-gradual-lifting-of-borders-in-bid-to-save-europes-summer/ Those in-the-know know already that "a proposal" by the EU Commission means in reality "you national governments do what we say" :). Therefore, what the Spanish government announces today is rather irrelevant because it seems the EU Commission is thinking differently on this matter. Just sayin'.

Posted by
2214 posts

Those in-the-know know already that "a proposal" by the EU Commission means in reality "you national governments do what we say" :). Therefore, what the Spanish government announces today is rather irrelevant because it seems the EU Commission is thinking differently on this matter. Just sayin'.

I'm not sure that's how it works Enric, thus far each EU member state has been given a free hand to adjust their own internal deescalation measures as needed. So in this case, what the current gov of Spain does would be very much relevant. From your article you have linked, it appears the EU Commission recommendations are non-binding:

While the decision over reopening internal Schengen borders fall to the member states, Brussels is urging the 27 EU states to take a coordinated approach to lifting restrictions.

According to the non-binding recommendations, member states should work together to gradually remove travel bans and then border checks, while keeping targeted measures as the COVID-19 outbreak comes under control.

Posted by
2575 posts

As I said, those that have been long working in or with these institutions, much like in DC, know the jargon and what it does end up meaning, and, mark my words, there'll be tourism within the borders of the EU in summer :)

Posted by
4900 posts

You are correct about needing testing. But even with working tests, there is an error rate, that is very significant: NY Times article on the Base Rate Fallacy “In a population whose infection rate is 5 percent, a test that is 90 percent accurate could deliver a false positive nearly 70 percent of the time.” - https://nyti.ms/3bzivnX .

If you’ve used your five free articles this month, the Wikipedia article is pretty good: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base_rate_fallacy

The math isn’t that hard. But the result is so hard to wrap your head around that it’s hard to believe. When 25% of the population has antibodies, the measurement problem will be less serious.

Posted by
2575 posts

adding to Tim.... I believe you can delete the cookie left in your computer by NYT and it resets that counter, so you don't have to wait until the end of that month.

Posted by
2214 posts

@Enric, I agree, I'm also fairly confident there will be tourism within the borders of the EU this summer, what form will it take, now that's the question.

My feeling is that we will have some form of domestic tourism by mid-late summer, and even if it is technically possible to "travel" from one EU country to another, I think most citizens will opt to stay within their own borders during these summer holidays. It think it will take several more months before true international tourism returns in any meaningful sense.

@Tim a report out this week from Carlos III University estimates that Spain currently has only around 5% antibody immunity. Which I think supports the concerns you raise, and is one of the several reason why mass testing at airports isn't going to cut it for Spain and why a 14-day quarantine was introduced.

Posted by
18913 posts

Deleting cookies has not allowed me to read more than the monthly limit of NY Times articles; it may have worked some years ago, but not recently. However, in 2018 or 2019 I was able to switch to a different browser and get around the limit that way. It's also possible you'd be able to double up by switching to a different device; I've never tried that.

Posted by
2214 posts

UPDATE (15/5/2020) - Spain extends restrictions on international travelers until June 15

Spain’s Official State Gazette (BOE) on Friday published an order extending restrictions on non-essential travel for people coming into Spanish territory until June 15. The Spanish government recently announced a 14-day self-quarantine for international travelers, effective today and until the end of the State of Alarm.

Besides the quarantine, non-essential travel to Spain will be heavily restricted. As a rule, Spanish authorities will only let in Spanish citizens, permanent residents of Spain, and regular residents of the Schengen area (30 countries that include the EU members, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Andorra) who are already in transit to their place of residence.

The order stipulates that authorities may also turn away EU citizens and their relatives for public health reasons if they are not “registered as residents of Spain, or headed directly to their place of residence in another member state, Schengen-associated state or Andorra.”

The order goes into effect on Saturday, May 16 and will remain in place until midnight on June 15. This pushes the travel restrictions beyond May 24, the date when the current State of Alarm is due to end in Spain, although Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, of the Socialist Party (PSOE), will ask Congress for permission to extend it to June 29.

source: https://english.elpais.com/society/2020-05-15/spain-to-extend-restrictions-on-international-travelers-until-june-15.html

Posted by
14329 posts

Israel has also extended the same rule of 14-day self-isolation for all arrivals until June 15. Frankly I'm relieved. One of the stories in today's news is a Tel Aviv University study that shows 70% of all infections here come from the US virus strain, most of the rest from various European countries (news article here). United has been flying from Newark almost daily since the shutdown began (it's one of about 5 flights a day - the others are mostly repatriattion flights). It was just announced that Delta will have 4 flights a week from the US and my first thought was - more virus coming!! Although the 14-day isolation rule has been in place from the beginning (for returning Israelis as well), it turned out that many arrivals signed statements that they had a place to quarantine but they either lied or simply disregarded the order. For the last couple of weeks, there's been more monitoring/enforcement.