The Spanish government has refused to ban flights from the UK in response to an announcement that a new mutant strain of COVID-19 had been discovered in the south of England.
Despite other countries including Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium closing their borders to British travellers over the weekend, Spain said they would instead be reinforcing the use of PCR testing on those who arrive from the UK via air and sea.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez will also request that European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President, Charles Michel, provide EU members states with a “coordinated community response”.
In a statement, the Spanish government said: “Given the situation reported by the British authorities and as an immediate measure, Spain will reinforce the control of PCR test verification at airports and ports for people arriving from the United Kingdom.
“Tomorrow, at the urgent meeting of the IPCR crisis mechanism, the Government will defend the need to adopt coordinated measures on flights from the United Kingdom.
“Spain maintains its position: decisions in this regard must be common and avoid unilateralism.
“In order to travel to Spain, it is mandatory that everyone from countries or areas at risk for # COVID19 undergoes a Diagnostic Test for Active Infection, PDIA, for SARS-Cov-2 in the 72 hours prior to arrival with a negative result."
In a radio interview on Monday, Health Minister Salvador Illa said, “We have chosen to support coordinated measures. It would be good for there to be a coordinated response on a European level”.
Illa said that there was no evidence that the new strain found in the UK had reached Spain, although it did not mean “that it is not here”.
As of Monday morning, more than 30 countries had decided to ban arrivals from the UK with Prime Minister Johnson due to chair a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee, Cobra.
European Union member states are also due to meet on Monday evening in Brussels to discuss their coordinated response to the situation.
With France closing its borders for 48 hours on Sunday evening, it has meant that no lorries or ferries will currently be able to sail from Dover.
With around 10,000 freight lorries travelling between Dover and Calais each day, the move is set to cause serious disruption until a solution is found.
However, the French government said on Monday that it would "establish a protocol" to get things moving again.
Via a Twitter post, French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said: "In the next few hours, at European level, we're going to establish a solid health protocol to ensure that movement from the UK can resume."
It comes after Boris Johnson announced that London and South-East would be placed into Tier 4 lockdown following a surge in cases thought to be due to the new highly infectious mutant strain.
The whole of Wales entered into another lockdown with Scotland due to enter their lockdown from Midnight on Saturday, December 26.
The number of new Coronavirus cases in the UK has continued to rise with 35,928 cases reported on Sunday; double the number recorded seven days previously, with another 326 people losing their lives bringing the total to 67,401.
The Spanish government has since announced that they will be restricting passenger via air and sea from the UK to Spain, the Balearics and Canary Islands from Tuesday, December 22 until Tuesday, January 5, with the exception of Spanish nationals and those legally resident in Spain.
In addition, any passengers (Excluding those under 6) entering the country will have to provide a negative PCR, TNA or LAMP test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.
Anyone travelling into Spain from the UK is advised to carry proof of residency, for example, TIE or another residency document, padron document, property deeds or rental agreement etc.
January 14, 2021