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Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez confirmed that Spain will re-open its borders to all European Union and Schengen-Area countries this Sunday 21st June with the exception of Portugal which has requested that the frontier remain closed until Wednesday 1st July. And, after confirmation from the British Embassy, the United Kingdom is included in the list, being in the transition period in its process of leaving the European Union.

The borders were sealed back in March when the Government declared the state of alarm in Spain in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus infection. After six extensions and 14 weeks, the country will ease itself out of lockdown at 00:00 on Sunday 21st June and restrictions of the freedom of movement around the country will be lifted whilst those arriving from abroad will no longer be required self-isolate for 14 days.

On Wednesday 1st July, visitors from outside the European Union and the Schengen Area will be allowed to enter the country, provided that there is a reciprocal agreement on travel and that the epidemiological situation in the country of origin is considered. Whilst the epidemic is considered to be under control in Spain, the Prime Minister has raised particular concern about the situation in the Americas as well as countries such as Russia.

Spain's airport operator AENA confirmed that it will increase operations at all the country’s main airports on July 1st, many of which have been partially open or entirely closed since the state of alarm was declared. Thermal imaging cameras will be used to check body temperature on several people at a time whilst all foreign arrivals will be obliged to fill out a Passenger Location Card (PLC) which should detail their contact address whilst in the country as well as any symptoms of coronavirus that they might have. Although they are handed out at the moment, the PLC is to become computerised to make the process faster and avoid crowding at airports.

The wearing of face masks in public will remain mandatory for everyone after the lifting of the state of alarm and it will become part of daily life for the foreseeable future. The Royal Decree issued earlier in the month makes it an offence not to wear suitable cover over the mouth and nose if an interpersonal distance of 1.5 metres cannot be maintained and there are fines of up to 100 euros for those who don't comply.

The Schengen Area should not be confused with the European Union. After an original agreement was reached between ten EC member states in 1995, the Schengen Area was created in 1995 as a passport-free zone which abolishes internal borders for the free and unrestricted movement of its population. Most of the EU countries are part of the zone as well as non-EU countries such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland are not part of the Schengen Area.

Source: La Moncloa
Date: Monday 15th June 2020





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