New travel advice issued for Spain as government recommends PCR tests for holidaymakers

Arrivals returning from Spain must use a PCR test as their mandatory pre-departure test (Photo: Getty Images)

The UK government has announced a swathe of changes to its travel list, including new advice for holidaymakers returning from Spain.

It was feared that the latest travel update would see Spain demoted to England’s red list due to an increased prevalence of Covid-19 and variants, but the country has retained its amber status.

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However, stricter rules on testing have been recommended by the Department for Transport (DfT) as a precaution.

Here’s what you need to know about the changes.

Do I need a PCR test to enter Spain?

The DfT has advised that all arrivals returning to England from Spain - and all of its islands - must use a PCR test as their mandatory pre-departure test where possible.

Many travellers have been relying on the cheaper lateral flow test kits which return results within 30 minutes, although these are less reliable than PCRs.

The change in advice comes as “a precaution against the increased prevalence of the virus and variants in the country”.

The government said that UK clinicians and scientists will remain in close contact with their counterparts in Spain to keep up to date with the latest data and picture of cases in Spain.

With Spain remaining on the amber list, this means that passengers must follow the testing and quarantine rules in place for this travel traffic light category.

Rules state that before returning to England, travellers must take a Covid-19 test in the three days before they are due to depart. For Spain, it is now advised that this must be a PCR test.

A list of PCR test providers are available on the government website and can be booked and paid for online.

On arrival in England, travellers must quarantine at home for a total of 10 days, and take a Covid-19 test on or before day two and on or after day eight.

Those who are fully vaccinated against coronavirus do not need to quarantine or take a day eight test after arriving in England.

This rule also applies to people under the age of 18 on the day you arrive in England and resident in the UK, or in a country with a vaccination programme approved by the UK, or if you are part of a UK-approved vaccine trial.

Travellers must have had their final dose of a vaccine at least 14 days before the date they arrive back in England.

Rules state that travellers still need to book and take a day two test, regardless of vaccination status.

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Do the rules apply across all of the UK?

The devolved nations have control over their own amber, red and green lists of countries, as well as the rules around quarantine upon return.

Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have followed England in introducing the same travel relaxations, while the Welsh government has said it will consider the changes announced by the UK government.

What are the entry requirements for Spain?

The Spanish government requires all arrivals to Spain from the UK to present on entry a pre-travel declaration form 48 hours before they travel and one of the following:

a negative PCR Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrivalproof of full vaccination, with the second dose administered at least 14 days prior to travel

Tourist accommodation in the Canary Islands also requires proof of either full vaccination, a negative PCR test or proof you have recently recovered from a Covid infection.

Which countries have been added to the amber list?

The latest update will see India, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) move from the red to the amber list from 4am on Sunday (8 August), as the coronavirus situation in these countries has improved.

France will also move from the amber plus list back to amber, meaning those who are fully vaccinated with a vaccine authorised and administered in the UK, US or Europe no longer need to quarantine when arriving in England.

Elsewhere, seven new countries will join the green list and green watchlist from Sunday, including Austria, Germany, Slovenia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania and Norway, having demonstrated they posed a low risk to UK public health.

And Georgia, Mexico, La Reunion and Mayotte will move to the red list as they present a high public health risk to the UK from known variants of concern, known high-risk variants under investigation, or as a result of very high in-country or territory prevalence of Covid-19.

This article originally appeared on our sister title, NationalWorld.