Spain starts temperature checks for flight arrivals

The measure has been in place in Spain’s Canary Islands since the implementation of the state of alarm on 14 March.

Spanish Health Ministry started on 15 May temperature checks for flight arrivals. The measure is aimed at minimizing the risk of imported coronavirus cases, which authorities say pose one of the biggest risks to the downward trend of the outbreak, El Pais reported. The checks will last until 15 June, but could be extended beyond this date.

The new regulation coincides with the extension on the restrictions on non-essential travel for people coming into Spanish territory, which will be in place for another month. It also comes on the same day that the 14-day quarantine for international visitors came into effect in Spain.

Spanish health authorities have warned that imported coronavirus cases represent “one of the biggest risks” to the improving situation in Spain, which has seen daily coronavirus fatalities fall from a peak of 950 on April 2, to 138 on Friday.

Temperature checks have been in place in airports in countries such as South Korea since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. But in fully operational facilities these controls have led to long delays and false negatives, El Pais recalls. It is estimated that only a small number of coronavirus infections are detected via this method, given that there is growing evidence of the significance of transmission between asymptomatic or presymptomatic cases, who would not be identified by the temperature checks. But with fewer passengers and flights arriving at airports, delays and staff shortages will not present a problem. Only travellers who arrive in Spain by air will be subject to the temperature checks. The regulation does not apply to the land border with Andorra or travellers coming from Gibraltar, the British Offshore Territory in the south of the Iberian peninsula.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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