[17/03/2020 Update: Spain closes its land borders and urges the return of Spaniards outside of Spain due to a foreseeable closure of air and sea borders in the coming days.]
The coronavirus pandemic is causing border closures between countries. This situation is creating a serious problem for Spanish citizens located outside our country or on vacation who want to return to Spain. It also causes problems for people who, when they return to their country of origin or residence, have a layover in our country.
In summary, the coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency no longer only affects the cancellation of scheduled trips, it is also leaving thousands of citizens without an opportunity to return. Almost 70 of the 194 countries in the world have imposed limitations on the international mobility of people. Here we focus on the case of Spaniards or residents in our country who have to travel to another country.
How to go home after the coronavirus crisis?
If you are abroad and want to return to Spain, according to the recommendation of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the first thing you should do is contact the corresponding Spanish Embassy or Diplomatic Office; these offices will be open 24 hours through the consular emergency contact telephone numbers and on social networks.
Many airlines, apart from increasing their hygiene measures, are cancelling their flights during the month of March due to the health emergency and allowing their customers to change the date of their tickets free of charge.
If you already have your ticket, you should speak to the airline to find out the status of your flight and check the website of the airport you are leaving from as well as the website of the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency to obtain accurate information on prohibitions, limitations, and other measures regarding the mobility of people.
According to the measures adopted last week by the Spanish government, people who are affected by flight or train cancellations have the right to information, assistance, and, where appropriate, reimbursement of the amount paid or alternative transportation.
Countries that prohibit the entry of Spaniards or Spanish residents
Countries that have prohibited the entry of people who have been in Spain, according to the media, to stop the expansion of the coronavirus are:
- Saudi Arabia,
- The Savior,
- Guatemala (to all Europeans),
- Iraq, Israel (all non-residents),
- Kuwait (ban on all non-nationals),
- The Czech Republic,
- Trinidad and Tobago,
- Turkey and
- Slovakia (in this case, despite the closure of their borders, they allow them to return to Spain).
Countries that impose mandatory quarantine on Spaniards or Spanish residents
Countries that impose a mandatory quarantine of 15 days of home isolation on all passengers who come from or have made a layover in Spain are:
- Bosnia Herzegovina,
- North Macedonia,
- Russia (only the city of Moscow that can sanction you with up to 5 years in prison),
- Thailand and
Countries with other previous measures imposed upon entering the country
Another 15 countries that require some other measure to prevent the entry into their territory of people infected with the coronavirus, such as the measurement of body temperature:
- Ukraine and
More serious cases of coronavirus
Complete and indefinite closure of borders with Spain by land, sea, and air.
Since last Friday, March 13, the Moroccan government decreed the closure of its borders with Spain. The Spanish government delegation in Ceuta and Melilla has released an urgent statement so that citizens who wish to may return to our territory. The border with the autonomous cities and the Peninsula are still open.
Closure of borders with Spain
Our neighbouring country has decided to close its borders with Spain as an exceptional measure to stop the advance of the coronavirus in its territory. For the time being, only cross-border workers and the transport of goods may enter Portugal. As a result, the passage is closed for Spaniards travelling for leisure or recreation.
In Spain, the Spanish Ministry of the Interior recommends responsibility for the coronavirus situation and to cancel, as much as possible, organized trips. "Do not travel unless it is essential, avoid crowds and contact with other people.”
Under the cause #QuédateEnCasa #YoMeQuedoEnCasa (#StayAtHome, #IStayAtHome), Spanish society mobilizes to raise awareness among people residing in our country to stay at home and help curb the contagion curve of the Coronavirus. Different artists (singers, actors, writers...) have organized multiple events on social networks to help raise public awareness.