UK arrivals will need to be vaccinated to enter Spain from December 1
A negative PCR test was enough until now, but authorities now raise restrictions due to new Covid variant, Omicron
Individuals flying to Spain from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will only be allowed to enter the country if they are vaccinated against Covid-19.
The new regulations, published by the Spanish official gazette BOE on Saturday, will come into force on December 1 and will last, at least, until December 31.
Madrid has decided to enhance the restrictions on UK arrivals due to the new Covid variant, Omicron. Until now, they were able to fly to Spain showing a negative PCR test made within the 72 hours prior to the journey or proof of recovery from the disease, but this will no longer be possible.
The UK now joins the list of non-EU or EEA territories that are required to be vaccinated – but for some specific exceptions – before entering Spain, that is, all countries in the world except for Argentina, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, UAE, Uruguay, China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
In parallel, from Saturday, Spain will require a Covid-19 negative test to everyone traveling from a high-risk country – at the moment, Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. The test will have to be made within 72 hours prior to the journey, even if the passenger is already vaccinated.
The health ministry decision reads that the Omicron strain "has several mutations related to a possible increase in transmissibility and the decrease of the antibodies' capacity to neutralize it."
Suspension of flights to South Africa
Spain is expected to suspend all flights to and from South Africa and Botswana from next Tuesday, when the cabinet is convening, due to the emergence of the Omicron strain.
There are no direct flights between Barcelona and the southern African nations, but there are some flights via connections.
The European Commission has also proposed that all European Union member states cancel air connections to and from the southern African countries.
In a tweet, EC president Ursula von der Leyen said that the continental executive will recommend member states to pull the "emergency brake" and suspend flights due to the newly developing "worrying variant".