Travel advice update for Spain, France and Turkey  after earthquake, Covid and strikes

Coronavirus advice has changed for holidaymakers in Spain and France, and Turkey have updated their natural disasters advice

New official advice has been issued for holidaymakers travelling abroad with their families.  If you’ve travelled abroad since Covid, you will have become accustomed to rigorously checking travel advice over the past few years, and that’s unlikely to  change anytime soon.

In recent weeks, many holiday destinations  have updated their travel advice surrounding Covid, from masks to vaccination passports. Rules surrounding self isolation, and testing for the virus also changed  in France at the beginning of February 2023.

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The devastating earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have also led to further updates from the Foreign Office with advice for travellers. An earthquake measuring at 7.8 hit Gaziantep and neighbouring provinces in the southeast of Turkey on February 6, 2023. A second earthquake which measured 7.6 on the Richter scale followed and hit Turkey’s southern-eastern region of Kahramanmaraş at 1.25pm local time.

Strong aftershocks were felt across Turkey and as far away as Egypt.Turkey is a popular destination for holidaymakers in the UK with the Government website stating that British nationals made over 3.33 million visits to Turkey in 2022 alone. If you have a holiday planned to the region, staying up to date with the latest advice is imperative.

So, what is the new advice given to holidaymakers heading to France, Spain and Turkey? Here’s everything you need to know.

Turkey travel advice

Following two tragic earthquakes and strong aftershocks, the Turkish government has announced a national emergency in the 10 provinces affected by the earthquake which include Kahramanmaraş, Gaziantep, Malatya, Diyarbakır, Kilis, Şanlıurfa, Adıyaman, Hatay, Osmaniye, Adana.

The death toll in Turkey and Syria surpassed more than 35,000 people on Monday (13 February)as people remain trapped in collapsed buildings on both sides of the border. The Turkish government has since declared a national emergency in the provinces affected by the earthquake.

The government website advises that holidaymakers should “follow the advice of the local authorities.” The Turkish Government has stated that only vehicles which carry aid teams and aid materials are allowed to enter cities deemed to be inside the area of the disaster.

An aerial photo shows collapsed buildings in Antakya on February 11, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast  (Photo by Hassan AYADI / AFP) (Photo by HASSAN AYADI/AFP via Getty Images)An aerial photo shows collapsed buildings in Antakya on February 11, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast  (Photo by Hassan AYADI / AFP) (Photo by HASSAN AYADI/AFP via Getty Images)
An aerial photo shows collapsed buildings in Antakya on February 11, 2023, after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country's southeast (Photo by Hassan AYADI / AFP) (Photo by HASSAN AYADI/AFP via Getty Images)

Covid rules for Spain

Spain still has a number of health measures in place to stop the spread of Covid-19, however, the rules vary regionally with the Government website stating that the regional governing bodies “retain legal powers to ease or tighten restrictions within their territory as required.”

To enter Spain the country will accept the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination record. The government advises that: “Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.”

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Holidaymakers should note that facemasks are still mandatory for anyone over the age of six when visiting a hospital, or other healthcare settings as well as care or nursing homes. Those unable to wear a mask due to health issues or disabilities are exempt.

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Spain has now lifted the requirement to use face masks on public transport.

To stay up to date with the latest information the government advises that holidaymakers check Check the risk from COVID-19 for Spain on the TravelHealthPro website.

Covid-19 rules for France

France first lifted Covid travel restrictions in August 2022, however until February 1, it was still mandatory to self-isolate if you tested positive for the virus. This rule has now been scrapped.

Regarding further changes to their policies, the Department for Transport and the FCDO have jointly published separate guidance for the freight transport industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Government website states that: “As of February 1, it is no longer mandatory to self-isolate following a positive COVID-19 test but remains recommended. If you test positive, or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive, the French authorities also recommend you follow basic hygiene rules, take a test and avoid contact with vulnerable people.”

The government website also advises that holidaymakers should Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for France on the TravelHealthPro website.

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