Spain: James Blunt warns coronavirus numbers are 'really bad'
Spain holidays are now facing further confusion as the Canary Islands government clashes with the mainland over the types of covid tests allowed for entry to the Canaries. Island leaders previously said in their travel advice they would accept travellers with negative rapid antigen tests. These are considerably cheaper than PCR tests and are “easier to obtain”.
A PCR test involves a swab of the nose and mouth and is 100 percent sensitive while the Rapid Test, which is carried out the same way, is only 98.2 percent sensitive in detecting viral levels that are currently considered to be infectious.
Results for the latter can be delivered within 15 minutes.
However, the Spanish government is now set to over-rule the controversial decision to allow international travellers entry to the islands on the back of rapid coronavirus tests.
Spanish newspapers are reporting Madrid won’t allow the Canaries to make this decision and says only full PCR tests are acceptable, not rapid ones.
Travellers to mainland Spain and the Balearics must already produce results of a negative PCR test to enter.
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Further details are now awaited to clarify the position. Canary president, Angel Victor Torres said they will fight the intervention in the courts if necessary.
He maintained the rapid antigen tests “are not a whim” and is convinced they will win in the end.
Today, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) responded to the news from Spain.
The travel information for Spain was updated by removing details of the rapid antigen tests for the Canaries from the FCDO travel site.
The news is the second blow in a week for Canary Islands holidays.
The sun-drenched archipelago was removed from the travel corridor on Saturday.
However, the FCDO is not warning against non-essential travel to the islands.
It does, however, caution against such travel to mainland Spain and the Balearics.
At the time of writing, Spain has 1,762,212 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
For now, the FCDO travel advice for the Canaries is as follows:
“If you are booked into regulated tourist accommodation in the Canaries, you will be obliged to present an official, negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours earlier, when checking in to your accommodation.
“This can be the same test used to enter the Canary Islands providing you check-in within the 72 hours of having taken the test.
“[You will also need to] download and activate the Radar COVID notification app throughout your stay on the islands, and for 15 days after your return home.”
The authority continued: “These measures are specific to the Canary Islands and apply to all guests aged six years and over unless they have proof of travel confirming their uninterrupted presence on the islands for the previous 15 days. Any traveller failing to comply risks being refused access to accommodation.
“For further information, refer to guidance from the Canarian tourist board, and check with your accommodation provider prior to travel.
“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test and should confirm with the testing facility the type of tests available prior to booking an appointment.”
Additional reporting by Rita Sobot.
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