Travel rules: Negative COVID tests still needed for several European destinations

Several countries across Europe still require holidaymakers to have a negative COVID test result before arrival, travel expert Eoghan Corry says.

As Omicron swept across the continent, a number of countries put in place new testing requirements for anyone arriving from abroad in a bid to curb the spread of the new variant.

Ireland was among them, although the Government last week announced that the testing requirement would be lifted for vaccinated passengers.

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The rules came into place despite the use of the EU’s Digital COVID cert, which was specifically designed to remove the testing and quarantine requirement for vaccinated or recently recovered people when travelling within the bloc.

On today’s Lunchtime Live, Eoghan Corry – editor of Travel Extra – was asked about the testing requirements for Spain.

He said: “Spain is operating. It’s a little bit more complicated than it was before, but all you need for Spain is your locator form.

“You can be pretty sure Spain’s [COVID] figures are rising, but the quarantine laws have been relaxed – as they have been across Europe.

“The key to Spain is there’s no test required.”

He noted there is an initiative among the hoteliers in the Canary Islands requiring guests to have a negative test, so anyone flying there should check with their hotel.

However, nationally the Spanish policy is ‘no test required’.

Local restrictions do differ from region to region, though – Barcelona, for example, has stricter measures in place than Madrid.

While travel to Spain is relatively hassle-free, Eoghan explained tourists will still run up again testing requirements for some other popular destinations.

Negative test results are required for anyone flying into Italy, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus.

Norway, Sweden and Finland are among the other countries currently requiring pre-arrival tests in addition to a travel ‘green cert’.

Eoghan noted that the testing requirements will differ from country to country – not all will accept antigen test results, for example.

Rapid antigen tests can be done at or near the airport shortly before flying, but PCR tests will usually need to be done the day before or at least several hours before a flight.

In general, Eoghan said people flying to any European destination will likely need at least four main documents.

He said: “Before COVID broke out, we needed a boarding pass and passport.

“We now need a boarding pass, passport, EU digital cert and locator form.”

He also noted that people who choose not to travel – even though their flight is operating as planned – likely won’t be entitled to a refund, despite the changing situation with Omicron.

Main image: The coastal town of Ponta do Sol, located on the South coast of Madeira Island, Portugal. Picture by: Christophe Cappelli / Alamy Stock Photo