Spain’s Council of Ministers has extended the ban on travellers entering the country from the UK until 6 PM on March 2 it was announced on Tuesday.
The ban will also include all those arriving by air or sea from Brazil and South Africa where new variants of the virus were recently discovered.
In addition to providing a negative PCR test in the 72 hours prior to the trip, passengers from Brazil and South Africa will be tested for antigens at the airport in order to reinforce controls.
It was also announced that Spain would be extending the restrictions along its land border with neighbouring Portugal until March 1.
It will be the fourth time that Spain has extended the restrictions on those looking to enter the country from the UK since the measures were imposed in late December.
At a news conference, the new Minister of Health Carolina Darias (pictured) said that the cabinet had agreed to extend the restrictions for another two weeks.
As a result, only legal residents and nationals of Spain and Andorra will be permitted entry.
As there are no direct flights into Spain from South Africa, the restrictions will also apply to passengers whose journey begins there and makes a stopover via a third country.
Spain confirmed on Friday that it had identified the first case of the Brazilian strain in the country.
The ministry also confirmed that two cases of the South African variant which is thought to be more transmissible had already been found.
The British mutation which Spanish authorities believe will be the most dominant strain by March has already been discovered in 479 cases to date.
It comes as other European countries also impose their own restrictions on travellers fearing that the current vaccines may not be effective in containing the new strains.
Spain has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic with the Ministry of Health reporting on Tuesday that the country had passed the 3 million cases mark with more than 63,000 people losing their lives since the pandemic began.
Spain’s vaccination program has also gathered pace with the government announcing that they had delivered 2,218,755 units of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the autonomous communities, of which 2,105,033 have been administered. Around 800,000 people have already received their second dose.
It comes as the country received nearly 200,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at the weekend, although this will not be used on those over the age of 55. AstraZeneca has also agreed to supply Spain with a further 1.8 million doses in February.
Spain plans to have around 80% of elderly citizens vaccinated by the end of March with the aim to have 70% of the population vaccinated by the end of the summer.
Image Credit: Pool Moncloa/Borja Puig de la Bellacasa
February 19, 2021