The Government will impose a mandatory 10-day quarantine on travelers from Peru, Colombia and eight African countries ―Botswana, Comoros, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe―, to prevent the spread in Spain of the Brazilian and South African coronavirus. This measure extends the one already imposed on passengers from Brazil and South Africa in force since February 22 (which is extended), and will come into force on March 8. People from these countries may shorten the isolation if a PCR or antigen test with a negative result is performed on the seventh day.
The order of the Ministry of Health, which has been published this Wednesday in the Official State Gazette (BOE), establishes that people arriving in Spain from any airport located in the aforementioned countries, with or without intermediate stopovers, must be quarantined, except for aeronautical personnel. They must be subjected to isolation for the 10 days following their arrival, or during their entire stay in Spain if this is less. The tests accepted to shorten this period are “RT-PCR or other tests based on equivalent molecular techniques, as well as antigen tests that have a minimum yield of ≥ 90% sensitivity and ≥ 97% specificity”.
Health considers this measure “urgent and necessary for the protection of public health”, since the aforementioned variants of the coronavirus have “greater transmissibility, risk of reinfection and a possible decrease in vaccine efficacy.” It also justifies the extension of the quarantine by “its extension to countries close to where they were initially detected, many of which have a limited degree of development of surveillance, detection and notification capabilities.” The order, by limiting fundamental rights, must be judicially ratified.
During isolation, the affected persons must remain at their home or accommodation, and limit their movements, as well as visits by third parties, to those essential, which according to the order are the purchase of food, pharmaceuticals and basic necessities; assistance to health centers, services and establishments; and the causes of force majeure or situation of need.
Health authorities may contact people in quarantine to monitor them. The Security Forces and Bodies may also verify compliance with the isolation conditions at any time, according to the order. Faced with any suspicion of symptoms of covid-19, those affected should contact the health services by phone, indicating that they are in quarantine.
Travel agencies, tour operators and transport companies must inform travelers of these measures at the beginning of the ticket sales process destined for Spain.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.