Residents of all EU member states and countries within the Schengen zone will be admitted except Portugal
The twists and turns of the Covid crisis continue and just hours after declaring that Spain was sticking to its guns and would NOT be opening its mainland borders to foreign tourists until July 1st, the Government has done a complete U-turn and made the surprise announcement on Sunday that it WILL be opening for foreign nationals from 21st June.
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez made the announcement during the last of the weekly video conferences held with the presidents of the 17 autonomous regional Governments before the country moves into the “new normality” which also begins at midnight on 21st June (effectively 22nd June).
Spain closed its borders on 14th March when the state of emergency was first decreed, enforcing a strict lockdown in a bid to further prevent the spread of Covid-10.
Since then the Spanish resident population has been prohibited from moving internally between either provinces of the larger regions or between regions other than for essential purposes, flights into and out of the country fell to an absolute minimum with repatriation flights and essential movement only and those returning to Spain were subjected to a strict 14 day quarantine.
At that point he made no specific mention of the UK, although the British media is reporting that “sources”have confirmed that the UK will be included within the permitted nations as although the UK will be officially leaving the EU from the end of December 2020, during the year the UK is still in a transition period.
Later in the day Spanish foreign affairs minister, Arancha Gonzalez, confirmed on Twitter: “Spain will open its borders with EU and Schengen-area countries as from 21 June, with the end of the state of alarm and end of quarantine.
No quarantine will be imposed.
The only EU country excluded from this arrangement is Portugal. The Spanish-Portugese border is due to re-open on 1st July when a formal opening ceremony attended by the king and Prime Ministers of both countries will take place.
From 1st July borders with third countries, outside of the Schengen area, will be opened in stages, depending on epidemiological situation in the specific countries.
A list of countries from which Spain will accept visitoprs is to be prepared and published in the same way as has been the case in other EU nations recently.
It’s a very surprising move, as the Spanish Government has been so adamant that it would not be opening its mainland borders until 1st July, Salvador Illa, the Health Minister re-iterating on Friday that this was the case following intense pressure from the EU to harmonise the re-opening of borders between member states and reactivate tourism.
The Prime Minister has been adamant that protecting the residents of Spain from external contagion has been, and remains, top priority, and there had certainly been very strong hints recently that the opening of borders would be gradual and controlled, only permitting residents of nations in a similar epidemiological situation to enter.
Certainly the tourism minister had sewn considerable doubt about the possibility of UK tourists being allowed to come to Spain this summer given the high level of cases still being reported in the UK.
What makes it even more surprising is the reaction of some of the regional presidents to the announcement on Friday that Galicia would be exercising its options to leave the state of emergency from Monday 15th June onwards and that airports would only be imposing a basic temperature control on foreign arrivals. Several regional presidents have expressed very strong opinions over the weekend that these two measures would lead to a rise in “imported” cases of Covid-19 in their own regions from both other regions of Spain and international flights and were opposed to both decisions.
Last week the Ministry of Health raised the point several times that opening borders would result in a resurgence of cases and expressed its opposition to a premature lifting of restrictions. “Spain will not ooen its borders until 1st July and then, only with absolute security” the Minister said on Friday in a press conference, issuing asurances that the re-opening of Spanish borders would only be undertaken gradually.
Credit: Source link