Spain opens its doors to vaccinated tourists after easing of restrictions

17:07pm, Mon 07 Jun 2021
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Spain jumpstarted its summer tourism season by welcoming vaccinated visitors from most countries as well as European visitors who can prove they are not infected with coronavirus.

It also reopened its ports to cruise ship stops.

Non-vaccinated travellers from the European Union’s 27 countries can enter Spain now with the negative results of recent antigen tests, which are cheaper and faster than PCR tests for coronavirus.

Spain is still banning non-essential travellers from Brazil, India and South Africa, where virus variants have been been a major source of concern.

Authorities will accept as proof official certificates that the visitors were vaccinated at least 14 days before the trip or that they overcame a Covid-19 infection in the past six months.

The certificates can be in Spanish, English, French or German, or their equivalent translations in Spanish, the government’s order said.

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus are reflected in a glass of fans store in Madrid (Manu Fernandez/AP) (AP)

The vaccines accepted are those approved by Europe’s drug regulator, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, also known as Janssen, as well as two Chinese vaccines authorised by the World Health Organisation, Sinopharm and Sinovac.

The same documents will be valid for EU visitors until the bloc gets together its Digital Green Certificate that some have dubbed a vaccine passport for travelling.

The Spanish government has set a goal of receiving between 14.5 million to 15.5 million visitors between July and September.

That is about 40% of the tourists in the same period of 2019 but twice as many as last summer, when only EU visitors could enter Spain.

Tourism is a major industry that in 2019 accounted for over 12% of Spain’s GDP.

In another move to boost tourism, Spanish ports opened to cruise ships on Monday, nearly 15 months after they were banned as the first coronavirus outbreaks were detected.

After peaking in late January at nearly 900 new cases per 100,000 residents in 14-days, the coronavirus contagion indicator in Spain has dropped to 117 per 100,000.

Still, its descent has stalled in the past days as new infections are spreading among unvaccinated groups.

Spain has counted over 80,000 Covid-19 deaths in the pandemic.

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