Society 15/04/2021

Vaccinated European visitors to Spain to be exempt of PCRs and quarantines in summers

It will "facilitate" entry for everyone who has a vaccination certificate

3 min
Archive image of a temperature control at an airport

MadridSpain is getting ready for the covid passport, which the European authorities have called the 'digital green certificate'. The European Commission's decision to give the green light to the first draft of the document has opened the door to the Ministry of Health to start planning for the arrival of foreigners in summer, after weeks of pressure in Brussels, along with Italy and Greece, so that vaccinated people could move unimpeded through the European Union. In the end, however, it will be up to each European state to decide what restrictions to impose, regardless of the certificate.

Spain has decided to "facilitate" the entry to all travellers who have the European digital green certificate or approved equivalents from third countries without the need for quarantines or PCR or antigen test on arrival. The measure will also apply to people who have passed the disease and already have antibodies, those who have been vaccinated or those who present a negative diagnostic test. This has been announced at a press conference by the Secretary General of Digital Health, Alfredo Gonzalez, who, although he has detailed that the passport will in no case be "discriminatory", pointed out that all people who can prove they are not carrying the virus will be able to enter Spain. The fact is that they will only be able to do so through this document, which in practice will be a free QR code.

Gonzalez stressed that the best thing about the QR code will be that it will facilitate verification by the authorities at the border and thus "the transit will be much safer and more agile for the traveller" and Spain "can receive more people with more security". In addition, he remarked that "it is not a passport, nor a travel document, nor a requirement for travel, but a mechanism that facilitates mobility within the EU".

The Ministry of Health insists that the certificate will not be discriminatory, but the fact is that a European citizen who has not had the disease or is not vaccinated will have to pay a diagnostic test 72 hours before travelling to enter the state. All these conditions may change if the evolution of the pandemic improves and Spain no longer requires a PCR or antigen test on arrival. In this context, it could be that a vaccinated German citizen could travel only using their digital green certificate in Spain, showing that they have received the doses for immunisation, but on their return are required to take a PCR test. However, what the European Commission has made clear in the proposal is that the certificate cannot be a sine qua non for entry into a member state.

The aim: implemented by the end of June

The aim, at the end of the day, is to facilitate exchange of information between EU states and that each one maintains the policies it wants. In the case of Spain, the Secretary General for Digital Health has explained that work is being done to ensure that it is fully implemented by the end of June so that it can be operational by summer. To achieve this, it will be necessary to have the capacity to issue "millions of certificates" in a short time. The communities will be responsible for issuing certificates, once the European Union approves the regulation. In addition, it is also expected that the certificate will make it possible to receive a second dose of the vaccine in a different European state. The intention to extend it to third countries is maintained. Gonzalez has explained that it will include vaccines that have not been authorised by the European Medicines Agency, although each member state can then decide whether or not to accept the certificate in question.

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