15 Spanish airports to offer pre-departure COVID-19 testing
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Some airports in Spain are making it easier for departing travellers to get their mandatory COVID-19 test. A total of 15 Spanish airports, including Barcelona and Madrid, will offer passengers testing facilities in their departure lounges.
Spanish airport operator Aena said that the new clinics will provide quick PCR, antigenic and serological tests and that there will be isolation areas for travellers awaiting their results.
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According to local news reports, the service will be available at Spain’s busiest hubs and where most of its tourism is based, such as Malaga, Seville, Mallorca and Ibiza, as well as at the Canary Islands’ four main airports.
The testing facilities will be set up for a six-month period initially, but they can be extended until the end of 2021.
“The clinics will be in departure lounges… for passengers who will need tests in their destination airports, not for those who land in our airports, who will need to bring their tests from their places of origin to pass the health controls in place since May across our network,” Aena said in a statement.
In recent months, a number of countries have required that incoming passengers have a negative COVID-19 test result in order to enter the border. As of 18 January, the U.K. requires that all incoming travellers have a negative COVID-19 test, taken at most three days prior to departure.
Until 2 February, Spain has suspended incoming flights from the U.K., with an exception for Spanish and Andorran nationals.
While the U.K. is still in a lockdown, rendering non-essential travel illegal, once travel reopens, the on-site airport testing facilities could help solve a logistical issue for Brits looking to return home. Aena is hoping that the new pre-departure testing capabilities will encourage tourism.
Both Spain and Portugal have seen huge spikes in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks — so much so that the Portuguese government has closed its land borders with Spain for two weeks, starting 29 January.
So far, Spain has seen about 58,000 COVID-19-related deaths and its hospital are said to be under enormous pressure, with 44% of intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients.
France 24 reported that there have also been delays in vaccine deliveries that have forced several regions, including Madrid, to stop injecting new people from priority groups, such as medics, and only administer second shots to those who have already received the first dose.
“The inability to deliver the necessary doses at the required speed has been a crushing blow, at least for health workers,” said Javier Marco, medical director of Madrid’s Isabel Zendal hospital.
He added that they felt “unprotected and at the mercy of the pandemic for an unknown length of time.”
Featured photo by ToniFlap/Getty Images
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