Government announces three decrees for covid tests on entry – but tourists will not be able to use antigen tests because Spain requires PCR results

The Canarian Government has announced this evening that President Torres will imminently sign three decrees to regulate safe entry to the Canaries, the degrees relating separately to Canarian residents, other Spanish nationals, and foreign travellers.

With regard to Canarian residents coming from the mainland for the holidays, the Government will pay for PCR tests or antigen tests, preferably at their point of departure. The measure is intended to provide security and protection for families here in the islands and the public generally from potential infection by those returning from work placements, study at university, etc.

A second decree will cover mainland residents travelling to the Canaries for Christmas. The system will be akin to that for residents but will be charged to the visitors, and will be coordinated with a similar model employed in the Balearics so as to streamline arrangements for tour operators and airlines.

The third decree will cover tourists from outside Spain. The Government stressed that the decrees that will shortly be passed are covered by powers bestowed by the national estado de alarma even though the Canaries are currently exempted from its measures. Nonetheless it provides regional presidents with powers to take these decisions but only in line with national, Spanish, regulation which requires PCR tests from all tourists. The Government noted the positive development of the reopening of the British market, and reminded visitors of the antigen test already required for those using regulated tourist accommodation. 

The Government, however, acknowledges that although it considers the antigen test sufficient, it has no power to overrule national regulation and so make it acceptable for border control purposes as well as accommodation. It will therefore “demand” that the national Health Department exempts the Canaries, and “continue negotiations to try to harmonise the anti-covid health control system for foreigners”. While that goes on, however, the PCR test remains the requirement for all international arrivals at Spain’s ports and airports, and the rules are HERE.

We’ve been here before of course, and only a couple of days ago the answer was no (see HERE), but maybe this will now put an end, however temporarily, to the fevered and groundless speculation that antigen tests were to be allowed instead of PCR tests for tourists entering the Canaries or that the regional Government would act in contravention of national State of Emergency legislation. 


  1. Thank you Mencey … 2/3 fines and it’ll be all across the front pages of the red tops and that would help immensely.

    Also good to see that the airlines/airports are taking some responsibility too, it’s in everyone’s best interests

  2. I’m staying put but I wonder how they are ‘policing’ this at TFS? I’m imagining chaotic scenes.

    Hopefully they are thoroughly checking, indeed it would be smart to put the onus onto airlines to check at the point of departure

    1. Author

      We understand that this is happening widely, and that at least 60 people from UK airports have been prevented from boarding the plane on departure.

      Even when people are not all checked on arrival, the law states that the certificate can be demanded at any time during their stay, and there is a fine of around €6000 if somebody is unable to produce it. So those crowing that they were not checked at the airport should not celebrate too early.

  3. Well I, for one, am very relieved that it is still PCR test to come here, at least for the moment. Agree about the click-fest theory too. There is blatant misinformation being published, considering they get the same news bulletins and press releases you do Janet. As a retired journalist, I find it just shockingly unscrupulous.

  4. HI
    It won’t be just the cost it’s a potential triple whammy, test £199 asymptomatic positive or false positive = 200 per person down no trip and 14 days isolation at home for you and family who have maybe tested ok
    Think it through before booking test s

  5. Yes. Think your right there Janet.

  6. I’m amazed that people are adopting the wait and see approach.

    Firstly, finding availability for a PCR test is difficult enough, but, actually finding someone to conduct the lesser Antigen test is extremely difficult.

    Our PCR test provider charged us £99. Their Antigen test is £78.

    A family of three would save just £63 living with hope and uncertainty.

    My advice would be to plan now and sit back.

  7. That’s our hope Liam. As for the Canarian Government Janet sounds like very late pathetic posturing and hot air to placate the tourist lobby in order to look as though they are ‘saviours’ of an already dead Christmas session. Still, I guess it gives them something to do.

    1. Author

      Exactly so, Ray, and mistaken by other news outlets as promises to tourists … it’s all about protecting themselves in the face of extraordinary pressure from the tourism lobby.

      Actually I wonder about the “mistaken”. I begin to be convinced that other media here (and probably everywhere really) know full well they’re reporting incorrectly, that they’re not giving the context for people to understand what the situation is and in which the politicians are saying these things, and that therefore it must be about winding up readers, with what’s essentially clickbait … and they need that because the clicks bring money through advertising. I don’t need to do that because I’ve never accepted advertising because there is no advertising without strings attached of one sort or another.

  8. Liam, we do indeed realise that people may be put off by the extra expense. However, we do also realise that our friends, neighbours and families are, upsetting as it may be, more important than those peoples holidays. Sorry about that.

  9. Thanks for the update.
    Im all booked to go to PLA on the 13th. But have been holding back on booking a test on the news that Antigen testing may be brought in. Its a difference of £50/£100 per person. That could be spent in the local economy instead.
    I do hope that they realise that a lot of people looking for some winter sun will be put off by the extra expense. Appreciate all you have done on getting the information out Janet!

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