Spain has just become the first country in the European Union (E.U.) to do away with testing requirements and mandatory self-isolation for all suspected COVID-19 cases. Effective immediately, anyone who comes down with mild symptoms of the virus is no longer required to get tested.
Instead, public health officials are recommending that such individuals limit their social interactions as much as possible, avoid having any contact with vulnerable individuals and wear a face mask at all times whenever they leave home.
The policy change does not, however, apply to those who are inherently vulnerable, such as those who are immunosuppressed, pregnant or over the age of 60. Healthcare workers and people residing in care homes will also continue to be tested and still must self-isolate if they come up positive, as will anyone who develops serious illness.
The new policy is to remain in effect as long as the nation’s hospitalization rate for COVID-19 patients remains below five percent. According to the Daily Post, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez had already announced plans to treat COVID-19 as an illness, instead of an emergency. This shift aligns with many nations’ new approach, as, after two years, the virus evolves toward something that’s more endemic than epidemic.
Early on in the pandemic, when Europe was COVID-19’s epicenter, Spain contended with one of the world’s worst outbreaks, which plunged it into one of the continent’s strictest lockdowns. After reopening to international visitors in summer 2020, the country was again hit especially hard by a second wave in subsequent months, which sent it back into a state of emergency. Two years and multiple viral variants later, Spain is ready to start treating COVID-19 almost like the common flu.
There are, however, still entry restrictions in place for foreign visitors. U.S. tourists ages 18 and older traveling to Spain are currently required to show proof of vaccination or a recovery certificate, while minors from 12 to 17 may provide a vaccination, recovery certificate or a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of embarkation. Children under 12 are exempt from all entry requirements.
If more than 270 days (nine months) have passed since receiving the final dose in their primary COVID-19 vaccine series, Americans must also show proof of having received a booster shot, which remains valid indefinitely from the date of administration onward.
For the latest insights on travel to Spain, check out the guide below: