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Spain suspends flights from UK but allows residents to return

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Spain and Portugal on Monday decided to join other countries in suspending flights from the UK due to fears over the new Covid-19 strain.

In a statement issued on Monday afternoon, the Spanish government announced its decision to ban flights from the UK.

Flights will be suspended from Tuesday, December 22nd. Only Spanish citizens and those resident in Spain will be allowed to enter the country.

Those coming back to Spain after Christmas may be required to show proof of residency to the airline.

“Spain’s decision has been taken in conjunction with Portugal and will also result in the reinforcing of controls on the border with Gibraltar,” the statement added.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, will immediately inform the British government and the European Commission of the decision.

“After the meeting of the European Union, which today analysed the effects of the new strain of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom, and asked that non-essential travel be avoided, the Government has decided to suspend flights from tomorrow for citizens from the United Kingdom, except for Spanish nationals and residents in Spain “, Spanish government sources have said.

It’s not yet clear how Spanish nationals and those resident in Spain will be allowed to return from the UK.

Several other European countries such as Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands have already adopted this measure unilaterally after the announcement about the new strain was made by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Earlier PM Pedro Sánchez asked the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, to give “a coordinated community response” to prevent flights from the United Kingdom.

But Spain said it would take its own action if the EU failed to come to a coordinated decision.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Saturday the variant could be up to 70 percent more infectious than the main strain, based on preliminary data, but scientists have remained cautious over making conclusions.

There is no evidence to suggest the new strain is more dangerous to health.

Read from source: https://www.thelocal.es/20201221/spain-joins-other-countries-in-banning-flights-from-uk

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With coronavirus cases on the rise, Spain adapts influenza surveillance system to Covid-19

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As the highly transmissible omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread in Spain, authorities are finalizing a plan for a new Covid-19 surveillance system that will mirror the one that has been used for years to monitor the flu. The new system will extrapolate numbers from a statistically significant sample, rather than rely on daily reporting of each and every diagnosed infection.

The system comes as case counts in Spain continue to hit new records: on Friday, the Health Ministry reported 242,440 new infections. More than seven million coronavirus cases have now been detected since the beginning of the pandemic. Speaking on Friday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said that most of the cases being registered were asymptomatic, adding: “We are going to have to learn to live with it [the coronavirus] as we do with many other viruses.”

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Reconstruction is underway on La Palma after volcano declared inactive

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euronews– In the district of La Laguna, on the island of La Palma, excavators continue to dig their way through the lava flows, with the aim of restoring connections as soon as possible.

The long process of reconstruction is underway in the Canary Islands after a volcanic eruption that lasted almost 100 days.

The eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano, which began on September 19, finally came to an official end on December 25.

Excavators are now building a platform from which to work, while firefighters pour water on the solidified lava, still steaming hot.

Only a few metres separate the buildings which have been spared by the lava flow, from those which have not.

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EXPLAINED: The Covid restrictions in your region of Spain this Christmas

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thelocal– As Spain’s national government and the regions were unable to reach a common agreement on all Covid measures over Christmas and early January, it’s once again the regions that decide which restrictions will apply in their territory. Here are the Covid rules in your part of Spain. 

Another year, another example of ‘17 Christmasses’. Pedro Sánchez’s meeting with the country’s 17 regional presidents did not result in a common plan of action across Spain to fight the highest daily infections since the pandemic began and the spread of the Omicron variant.

There was some consensus over some of the rules and measures to be implemented over Christmas and in the new year, notably the return of the face mask requirement outdoors.

But the old restrictions which have affected daily life for the past two years – closures, curfews, capacity limits, closing times, the Covid health pass requirement and more – are once again in the hands of each regional government to decide on and implement.

So this Christmas, just as was the case last year, which Covid restrictions apply to you will depend on where exactly you are in Spain.

Andalusia

Bars and restaurants:  There are currently no limits on capacity or opening hours.

Nightlife: In the municipalities at “level 0” there are no restrictions on capacity or closing times.

Covid health pass:  Until January 15th, the Digital Covid Certificate for hotels, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, cafés, hospitals and care homes in Andalusia is required.

Aragón

Bars and restaurants : 100 percent capacity at bars and restaurants and normal closing hours.

Nightlife:  100 percent capacity and normal closing hours.

Covid health pass: The document reflecting vaccination or testing is mandatory in Aragón’s nightlife venues which can house 50+ people (in smaller establishments only from 9pm), in gaming and betting rooms, for family celebrations of more than 10 people held at hotels or restaurants including weddings, birthdays, baptisms, etc, in hospitals and care homes and for events of more than 500 people in a closed place or 1,000 in an open space. The Aragonese government wants to expand the Covid health pass’s requirement to gyms, restaurants and cinemas.

Asturias

Bars and restaurants:  There won’t be early closing hours but it will be necessary for hospitality venues to install CO2 meters, ensure good ventilation and apply a distance of one and a half metres between different groups.

Nightlife:  The same rules that apply to bars and restaurants in Asturias are also in place for nightclubs.

Covid health pass: Asturias is waiting to receive judicial approval to implement the Covid certificate in the hotel industry and for activities that take place indoors. If approved, the measure would come into force on or before Monday December 27th.

Balearic Islands

Bars and restaurants:  There are no time or capacity restrictions for bars, cafés and restaurants on the Mediterranean islands this Christmas.

Nightlife: Nightclubs will have to stick to an indoor capacity limit of 60 percent over the Christmas period.

Covid health pass: Until at least January 24th, a Covid certificate will be required in all nightlife venues, restaurants, bars, cafes and other spaces with a capacity of more than 50 people. In Menorca it is also requested in cinemas and other cultural spaces where drinks and food can be consumed, at gyms, dance academies and tourist establishments with rooms for shared use. In Mallorca, the certificate is mandatory at hostels. The Balearic high court has also endorsed the health document requirement for health workers, or three weekly tests. The Balearic government now wants judicial approval to extend the COVID health pass to all restaurants regardless of their capacity.

Basque Country

Bars and restaurants:  There are no capacity limits or opening hours for hospitality establishments in the Basque Country, except for in municipalities with very high infection rates.

Nightlife: There are no capacity limits or opening hours for nightlife establishments in the Basque Country, except for in municipalities with very high infection rates.

Covid health pass: The health document is requested at the Basque Country’s nightlife establishments, restaurants with more than 50 diners, hotels, concert halls, sports centres, gyms, pavilions with more than 100 people, hospitals, care homes and prisons.

Cantabria

Bars and restaurants: There aren’t any capacity or opening hour limits for hospitality venues in Cantabrian municipalities in the “controlled risk” level; but for those in level 1 or 2 a Covid health pass is needed and tables are limited to 10 people.

Nightlife: No restrictions in “controlled risk” municipalities. For those in level 1 and 2, nightclubs can only open if they have CO2 meters and request the Covid health pass to enter. The indoor capacity for nightclubs on level 1 is 75 percent and for those on level 2 it’s 50 percent. A maximum of 10 per table is set for level 1 and 2 nightclubs. Cantabria’s high court rejected the measure to limit nightclubs’ closing time to 3am over Christmas.

Covid health pass: Cantabria’s high court has endorsed the Covid certificate’s use to gain access to enclosed venues where food and drink is consumed, including bars, restaurants and nightlife venues, large events or cultural spaces -such as cinemas, theatres etc.

Canary Islands

Bars and restaurants: Authorities in the Atlantic archipelago have a complex system in place where the opening hours and the capacity of hospitality establishments – both indoors and outdoors – is determined by the alert level of each island and whether the owners request the Covid health pass from customers. If they do require it, they can operate with the restrictions a level under which their island finds itself, which means more capacity and longer opening hours.

Nightlife: The same complex rules apply to nightclubs in the Canaries over Christmas. As things stand on December 23rd, Tenerife, Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura are at level 3, La Palma at level 2 and Lanzarote, La Gomera and El Hierro, at level 1.

Covid health pass: The Covid certificate is voluntary for all types of hospitality establishments as detailed above, but the health document is again being required for national tourists arriving in the islands, the only region currently doing so.

Castilla- La Mancha

Bars and restaurants:  no capacity restrictions or time limits.

Nightlife:  no capacity restrictions or time limits.

Covid health pass: Castilla-La Mancha’s government has not implemented the requirement of the Covid certificate for daily affairs or any establishment in the region.

Castilla Y León

Bars and restaurants:  no capacity restrictions or time limits.

Nightlife:  no capacity restrictions or time limits.

Covid health pass: Castilla y Leon’s government is also one of the few regional governments in Spain which has decided it isn’t necessary to require the Covid certificate for daily affairs or any establishments in the region.

Catalonia 

Authorities in the northeastern region on Thursday got approval to reimpose a 1am to 6am night curfew in municipalities with an infection rate of 250 cases per 100,000 people, which currently encompasses most of Catalonia. This will affect the closing times of all types of hospitality establishments for the next two weeks at least.

Bars and restaurants: There aren’t any capacity limits apart from more spacing at the bar. The curfew also means they’ll have to close before 1am in municipalities with high infection rates.

Nightlife: The capacity for nightclubs over Christmas is set at 80 percent. Dancing with a mask will be allowed without distance between partygoers, but again the curfew will mean the party ends before 1am over Christmas.

Covid health pass: it’s mandatory for nightclubs, cafés, bars, restaurants, gyms and sports centres, care homes, indoor standing music festivals and celebrations in hotels and restaurants where dancing is done indoors.

Extremadura

Bars and restaurants: There is no official capacity limit but Extremaduran authorities do recommend that 80 percent capacity indoors is  observed and a maximum of ten people per table and other gatherings.

Nightlife: The same rules and recommendations that apply to bars and restaurants apply to nightclubs in the western region.

Covid health pass: The health document isn’t required for daily affairs in Extremadura.

Galicia

Bars and restaurants:  Hospitality venues can have 100 percent capacity indoors and on terraces, with a maximum of eight people per table indoors and 15 outdoors. Closing times are set at 1am over Christmas and 1.30 am on Friday and Saturday night. Cocktail parties and similar celebrations where people are standing and consuming aren’t allowed.

Nightlife: The same capacity restrictions in place for the hospitality venues apply to nightclubs. Clubs closing hours are fixed at 5 am every day and 4am for bars except on Fridays and Saturdays where they can stay open until 4.30am.

Covid health pass: It’s  required to access restaurants, nightlife venues, bars, cafés after 9pm, hostels, hospitals, gyms, closed sports facilities, indoor swimming pools, care homes and mass events, including those with a capacity of more than 200 people indoors and that sell food or beverages.

Madrid

Bars and restaurants: No time or capacity limits, being served at the bar is allowed but only sitting. Smoking isn’t allowed on terraces unless you can keep a distance from others.

Nightlife:  Madrid’s nightclubs will have normal opening hours and capacity over Christmas. Dancing is allowed indoors – without consuming alcohol – and outdoors with a mask. Concerts and shows where the crowd is standing are allowed but eating and drinking may only be allowed in authorised areas.

Covid health pass: The health document isn’t required in the Spanish capital.

Murcia

The Murcian government has agreed that over Christmas non-essential establishments will have to close from 1am to 6am until at least January 14th. This will have a big impact on New Year celebrations in the southern region.

Bars and restaurants: Apart from their new Christmas closing times, Murcia’s bar and restaurant terraces can have 100 percent capacity on all risk levels but for indoor spaces, when Covid health passes aren’t requested by the establishments, the capacity limit is set at 75 percent for municipalities on levels 1 and 2; 50 percent for those on level 3 and 30 percent for towns and cities on level 4.

Nightlife:  The indoor capacity limit is set at 75 percent indoors if a Covid health pass is required. If not, the local alert level will affect the nightclub’s capacity: 50 percent for municipalities at level 3 and 30 percent for those at level 4.

Covid health pass: it’s now optional for bars and restaurants as well as nightclubs to ask for the health document, although it will limit capacity in many cases.

Navarre

Bars and restaurants: There are no restrictions on capacity and opening hours. Smoking on terraces is not allowed unless a distance of 2 metres can be kept.

Nightlife:  No capacity or opening hour limits

Covid health pass: Until at least January 6th, Covid certificates are mandatory to access restaurants with more than 60 diners and nightlife establishments.

La Rioja 

Bars and restaurants:  No capacity or opening hour limits

Nightlife:  No capacity or opening hour limits

Covid health pass: Until January 22nd, you need a Covid certificate to access nightlife establishments; restaurants with more than 50 diners; hospitals, care homes and outdoor events with more than 1,000 people when food or drink is consumed.

Valencia region 

Bars and restaurants: There are no capacity or time limitations for hospitality venues in the region, apart from a maximum of ten people per table.

Nightlife:  The same applies to nightclubs in the eastern region, which will have a limit of ten people per table.

Covid health pass: It’s mandatory for now to access leisure and hospitality venues including bars and restaurants, nightclubs, music festivals and events with more than 500 attendees, for hospital and care home visits, cinemas, gyms, etc

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