Spain closes borders to non-vaccinated British due to Omicron coronavirus variant

by Deborah Cater
Travel restrictions due to Omicron variant Spain

From Wednesday 1st December, only fully-vaccinated British tourists will be admitted to Spain. Along with other countries, Spain is tightening border restrictions amid concern at the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

Until now, Britons could enter Spain by showing a negative PCR test result taken up to 72 hours before arriving, but from 1 December they will also need proof of a Covid-19 vaccination.

The variant has been detected in Belgium, Botswana, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany and Britain, as well as South Africa. It sparked global concern and a wave of travel restrictions. However, epidemiologists say such restrictions may be too late to stop the Omicron coronavirus variant from circulating globally.

“The appearance of new variants … obliges an increase in restrictions,” with regard to people from the UK and Northern Ireland, says a Spanish government bulletin.

A spokeswoman for Spain’s Industry, Trade and Tourism said the move would not affect the estimated 300,000 Brits with residency in Spain.

The regulation remains in force until midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Tests on border with Portugal

Portugal announced it has set up mobile random COVID patrols on its border with Spain. Portugal’s Minister for Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, announced from 1st December, the land border will remain open but ‘we have mobile control mechanisms that we will adopt with the necessary adaptations.’

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

This brings the land borders in line with air and port crossings. People will need to show proof of a negative test or vaccination against Covid.

Other countries curb travel

Switzerland imposed a 10-day quarantine on travellers arriving from Britain, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi.

Israel is completely closing its borders to all foreigners for the next 14 days. “Our working hypotheses are that the variant is already in nearly every country,” Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked told N12’s “Meet the Press,” “and that the vaccine is effective, although we don’t yet know to what degree.”

Israelis entering the country, including the fully vaccinated, will have to quarantine, Bennett said. The ban will come into effect at midnight between Sunday and Monday. A travel ban on foreigners coming from most African states was imposed on Friday.

Entry into the UK will require a PCR test from next week for everyone. The government will announce the actual date later. All travel updates from the UK government can be found here. Regardless of the vaccination status of travellers, a PCR test is required and all contacts of new variant cases will have to self-isolate.

Related Article: Spain restricts entry due to new covid variant

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