The Spanish government has extended the travel restrictions already in place at Spain’s borders in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Six days ago, the authorities closed the country’s land borders to everyone apart from residents and goods vehicles. Now the restrictions have been applied to Spain’s airports and seaports, and will be in place for the next 30 days.
Only Spaniards or residents of Spain, residents of the European Union and countries associated with the Schengen Area who can prove that they are returning to the place of residence will be permitted entry at these transport hubs.
The restrictions will not be applied at Spain’s borders with Andorra nor Gibraltar
This measure, which was agreed last Tuesday by the European Union, includes several exceptions. As well as the aforementioned cases, travelers will be permitted to enter Spain at these border points: if they hold a long-term visa issued by an EU state or a country from the Schengen Area to which they are headed; if they are cross-border workers; if they are health professionals or take care of seniors and are on they way to carry out their duties; if they are employees in the sector of goods transportation; and if they are flight crew who are needed to carry out air freight activities.
These measures do not apply to diplomatic or consular staff, nor those from international organizations, members of the military or humanitarian staff, provided they are traveling in order to carry out their duties.
Also exempt are those traveling due to “imperative family motives that are duly accredited,” as well as those who can provide documents that show they are traveling due to causes of force majeure or are in a situation of necessity. Humanitarian reasons can also be cited.
The toughening of border controls comes at a time when Spain is facing one of the most dramatic moments of the coronavirus crisis, with more than 2,000 dead and 33,000 confirmed infections.
The order will be in place for 30 days but may be extended
According to the Spanish government, the measures are aimed at protecting the health and safety of citizens, and containing the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
The order was signed by Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and came into force at midnight. It will be in place for 30 days, “notwithstanding, where appropriate, eventual extensions that may be agreed.”
The order specifies that the restrictions will not be applied at Spain’s borders with Andorra nor Gibraltar, and also orders the temporary closure of the crossings at Spain’s North African exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla.
English version by Simon Hunter.