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Will Spain ban UK tourists? Covid travel restrictions and requirements explained, amid rising Omicron cases

Spain delivers crushing blow to UK tourists hoping entry requirements from the UK would change in run up to Christmas

As Covid cases continue to rise in the UK, other countries are reportedly looking at ways to limit the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

France has already tightened restrictions on UK travellers, as Italy considers its options, ahead of the festive period which has historically been a popular time of year to travel.

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But what does this mean for those planning to travel to Spain over the festive period?

Will Spain ban UK tourists?

Spain has delivered a crushing blow to UK tourists hoping the entry requirements from the UK would change in the run up to Christmas.

Spanish authorities have decided on maintaining the strict entry rules for UK travellers, which only allows fully vaccinated people to visit the country.

The popular holiday destination updated its risk list of countries this week but left all other entry measures the same despite the festive season, as Omicron continues to spread.

In response to the surge in Covid infections, an emergency meeting was called on Wednesday 22 December where Spain introduced mandatory face coverings outside.

The Covid measure was implemented after a record 49,823 cases on Tuesday. Prime minister Pedro Sanchez also announced an acceleration to the Covid vaccine bosster programme.

Spain travel restrictions explained

Fully vaccinated people from the UK can enter Spain for tourism and leisure purposes.

This means that anyone who has received both jabs of an authorised two dose Covid vaccine or one jab of an authorised one dose Covid vaccine can enter Spain from the UK.

Travellers who have been fully jabbed wishing to enter Spain must show proof of being fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to their arrival from the UK, the regulations state.

This includes the NHS Covid Pass, Scotland NHS Covid Status Pass and Northern Ireland’s equivalent which can be presented in digital or paper form when required to do so.

A Health Control Form must also be completed no more than 48 hours before departure by all travellers, including children. This generates a QR code to be presented at the Spanish border. A negative test or proof of recovery is not enough to gain entry.

What are Spain’s Covid rules?

Spain is still asking people to maintain a 1.5m social distancing rule and wear face coverings in enclosed places such as shops, public transport and crowded outside areas.

Some regions also have additional measures in place, such as overnight curfews, limits on social gatherings and meeting people indoors from other households.

What do I need to do before returning to the UK?

When returning from Spain, UK travellers need to fill out an online passenger form before departure as well as take a PCR or lateral flow test in the two days before leaving.

Once back in the UK, returning travellers must also take a PCR test within 48 hours of arrival and self isolate until they get a negative test result. Test needs to be booked before travel.

The UK’s scientific and medical experts expect Omicron to be the dominant strain of Covid, replacing the Delta variant, by mid December due to its high transmissible rate.

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