From 23 November all international travellers arriving at Spanish airports and ports from high risk countries must have a negative PCR test certificate to gain entry into the country. This certificate is a prerequisite and is included in the online form that generates a QR code that’s scanned on arrival.
Ibiza doesn’t have any international flights until January so isn’t directly affected by the new regulations but Mallorca has daily flights from countries such as Germany and Switzerland who’s passengers will now have to abide by the new rules
Other countries such as Greece have had the PCR test requirement in place since the summer but Spain in their better wisdom have only brought in the regulation now as the winter is upon us. We can argue about the timing but let’s just say ‘better late than never’.
Although the negative PCR test isn’t an ideal safety net (you could catch the virus on the way to the airport for example) it concentrates the mind and stops people traveling who suspect they have the virus but for reasons only known to themselves are unwilling to give up their holiday.
But there is one big flaw in this new cunning plan. Many countries have a lower infection rate than Spain and national arrivals, such as Madrid and Barcelona, are still allowed to come and go to the Balearic gateways without the need to show any proof of health. Recent history has shown that it is Spanish families and groups of friends who are spreading the infections more than others.
As an Island community the Balearics is in a unique position where it’s able to control it’s borders (Ibiza only has 1 airport and 2 ports) so when will the Balearic government grow a spine, start using common sense and insist that ALL arrivals, no matter if they are national or international, must show a negative test before entry is granted?
A small controversial caveat should be that Balearic Island residents are exempt from the test so that day trips and connectivity to the mainland are an option but national tourists gaining entry from Spanish airports shouldn’t be exempt especially as the numbers in their regions are so high.
Also the Balearics should follow the lead of the Canaries and not just accept the overly expensive PCR test but also the rapid 30 min tests (RDT’s) that are much cheaper and up to 80% precise. No system is infallible but the right noises must be made to deter potential spreaders from entering the islands.
This might mean that in the short term we don’t have the mass tourism that we have been used to over the last 20 years but quality over quantity is better than a 3rd wave due to a lack of courage in policing our own borders in a rigorous and effective way.
The Balearic Government hasn’t covered itself in glory during this pandemic but they now have the chance to be the authors of an economic recovery by taking the tough decisions and leading the way until a tried and tested vaccine is readily available to the masses.