MADRID (Reuters) – Spain must force people arriving by land from France to test negative for COVID-19, the health ministry said on Saturday, amid rising numbers of French arrivals and a rise in the rate of coronavirus in Spain.
Anyone arriving by land from high-risk areas will be required to present a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test which was performed within 72 hours of arrival.
“The ordinance will take effect three days after its publication in the State Official Gazette and until the government declares the end of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19,” the Ministry of Health said. in a press release.
The new requirement will not apply to truck drivers, border workers and people who live within 30 kilometers (20 miles) of the border.
Many French people, weary of their own lockdown, flock across the border to take advantage of the bars and restaurants open in neighborhoods like Madrid.
But Spain’s coronavirus infection rate has continued to climb steadily over the past week, suggesting that a long drop may be in danger of being reversed.
The rate, measured over the previous 14 days, rose to 138.6 per 100,000 inhabitants on Friday from 134 on Thursday, said the Ministry of Health. It reported 7,586 new cases, bringing Spain’s overall total to 3.26 million. The death toll increased from 590 to 75,010.
The health ministry said the areas at risk were those classified by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control. The map of the center shows that it includes all of France.