Tips for traveling outside of Spain

After more than two and a half years of the pandemic, and with the arrival of a calmer situation thanks to vaccination, many people are resuming their plans to travel outside Spain in the summer. Now, people considering it should take into account some considerations. According to SGDas of today “traveling increases the likelihood of becoming infected and transmitting. If you are not vaccinated, staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from Covid-19.” Because, although the current variants that have emerged from Ómicron show milder clinical pictures in immunocompetent and healthy people, affecting the upper respiratory tract, warns Dr. María del Mar Tomás, spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC) “It is possible that in vulnerable patients or with comorbidities, they give rise to more complex infections.”

The expert points out that the main measure for the prevention of serious diseases “is vaccination“. Also, he adds, it is recommended to wear an FFP2 mask indoors with poor ventilation, in crowded situations and when we have contact with vulnerable people. The truth is that before starting a trip abroad it is advisable to consult the requirements demanded by the countries to which you are traveling and the protocol to follow in case you fall ill with Covid there, a situation that is possible and should not be excluded.

Image - It is possible that in patients who are vulnerable or with comorbidities, they may give rise to more complex infections

It is possible that in vulnerable patients or with comorbidities, they give rise to more complex infections

Maria del Mar Tomas

Spokesperson for the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology (SEIMC)

“In general, the variants circulating in various countries in Europe and the United States are the derivative variants of Ómicron. In the last few weeks, the variants stand out BA.4 and BA.5, which are causing a significant increase in infections and even hospitalizations in some countries. It depends on the level of vaccination of the population of the country, as well as the level of longevity,” adds Tomás.

If you fall ill just before traveling

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recommends not to travel if you have symptoms compatible with Covid-19 (fever, shortness of breath, cough…). He also recommends bringing the complete and up-to-date vaccination schedule and finding out about the health requirements and the epidemiological situation of the country you are visiting. Before traveling, says the UNWTO, you must consult the instructions of the health authorities and, if you decide to travel, you are responsible for ensuring your own health and that of others. If you become ill while travelling, the UNWTO recommend isolation and seek medical attention as soon as possible. As acknowledged by the spokesperson for the SEIMC“due to the current level of globalization, as well as the high transmission capacity of Omicron variants, it is difficult to exclude a country in which they are not present in the population. The important thing is to prevent by vaccination and in specific situations of possible risk, wearing a mask, social distancing, as well as ventilation”

The important thing is to prevent through vaccination and in specific situations of possible risk, wearing a mask, social distancing, as well as ventilation

Situation by country

There are many private and institutional web pages that provide up-to-date information on travel requirements. The SGD It is recommended to check with the airline which will have the most up-to-date information. The IATA, divides the countries of the world into 4 classes for Spaniards who want to travel: countries to which you cannot travel for tourism, such as China or Saudi Arabia, or the Philippines; those in which they ask to take a Covid-19 test before traveling like Russia; those requesting some type of certification or document proving that they have been vaccinated with the full schedule, such as the United States, Canada or Morocco (if they have not received all three doses of vaccines because have suffered from Covid, this hourly vaccination will not work for them and you will need to provide certified proof that you do not have the virus).

There are also countries where quarantine is required even if you are vaccinated, such as Australia and Kenya. At the other extreme, there are countries that do not require any type of certification or test, as there are no restrictions, such as the UK.

There are countries in which quarantine is required even if you are vaccinated, such as Australia and Kenya

There are many countries for which there is no information on tourist travel requirements or the epidemic situation, so it is not recommended to travel there. Within Europe, there are European certificate of vaccination with which you can travel to EU member countries. If you are not vaccinated, a negative test is required.

Health coverage

If you are going to travel through Spain and are going to stay for a long time (more than a month) at your destination, it is advisable to request the transfer of health coverage to your place of residence. With private insurance, all you have to do is contact the service center of your choice and request an appointment. If you are traveling through Europe, to be taken care of by public health, you must apply in Spain for the European health card. For coverage with private services, each entity has its own agreement. If you are going to travel outside of Europe, it is strongly recommended that you take out medical insurance which gives you general and specific coverage for Covid. There are very basic insurances from 40 euros to 300, depending on the guarantees, which include specific Covid insurance.

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