Spain says no to antigen test for the Canaries – only PCR tests are allowed

For questions about the PCR test on arrival and the Canarian requirement for test at accommodation, please see the post HERE.

As I’ve said HERE, Spain requires a PCR test for all international arrivals at any port or airport in the country. Since the Canaries are in Spain that applies to arrivals here too, but the Canarian Government has its own law in addition, requiring a negative covid test to be presented by anyone using regulated tourism accomodation like hotels and legal apartments. The regional tourism law, however, doesn’t demand a PCR test specifically – hotels can request an antigen test instead, something that is apparently easier and cheaper for tourists to source. 

A huge, unfounded, and quite insane fuss has been generated recently after the Canarian Government announced that they had asked Spain to allow visitors to the Canaries to pass ports and airports with the same antigen test required for accommodation. They were hoping to help tourism by relaxing the requirement to bring the more costly PCR test. Instantly, however, the media and especially social media went nuts, there’s no other way to put it, and in an utterly mad trampling on reality started announcing that the antigen test had been approved for visitors here, that it was now a fact that tourists just had to bring an antigen test.

This has caused no end of confusion and trouble because it was not true. All that had happened was that Canarian President Ángel Torres had asked the national Government for antigen tests to be allowed following pressure from the hotel associations and other tourism-related businesses to “do something” … what he should do, given that he had no devolved powers over border control, was unstated, but he must do “something”. What he did was introduce the antigen test for tourist accommodation, an area where he had devolved power, and announce that he’d asked for antigen tests to be permitted at borders, an area where he does not have devolved power. This was not an announcement made to encourage tourists, or confuse them, but to satisfy criticism and reduce pressure in political tourism circles here in the Canaries. He said he wanted an answer by today, and got it yesterday: it’s “no”.

Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto said that the national Government wasn’t against the idea in principle but it had to be part of an EU-wide approved scheme with set criteria, in place throughout the bloc, and that there would be no interregional variation within Spain that allowed a different test to be demanded for entry into the Canaries. So, only a PCR test is allowed. It’s all that was ever allowed. And if that situation changes it will need more than a simple approval by the national Government. The Canaries will not be able to go it alone with the antigen test.     



  1. Good outcome. No is no. It’s a simple statement that everyone can now understand. No PCR test no entry.

    1. Author

      To add to Mencey’s reply to Marc, it seems I am not the only one putting the blame on “many media outlets prematurely announcing it as a done deal”. THIS German paper in Fuerteventura is saying the same thing.

      This was never the fault of the authorities: Torres was behaving as any politician under pressure would, and explaining what he was trying to achieve. He was acting within his constitutional limits – unable to impose border controls he was asking the legitimate authority, the Spanish Government, to vary its own measures. Spain said no because it has tourists coming from all over, and as a committed EU member, requires visitors to present only those tests currently approved by the EU, regardless of how this goes down with British tourists in particular.

      As I’ve said before, no other country is having a problem in accepting this, nor in getting tests. So as usual it would appear that the UK public is putting the blame for the UK’s own failures on the EU.

  2. Janet, you did critisise the general public of the United Kingdom for the “utter chaos” that has been stirred up in recent weeks with regard to antigen testing being allowed when visiting Tenerife. I couldn’t think of any other way of describing the current situation! It’s an absolute embarrassment for the Canarian Government to say one thing, for the Spanish government to turn around and shoot it down with so little time before the Christmas period.

    1. Author

      The chaos has been caused by speculation interpreted as fact by social media and some careless local press. The Canarian government made a proposal (taken as fact) which the Spanish government refused, with reason. I can’t see the point of mentioning Christmas, why should that make any difference? I see no embarrassment at all, other than for those making false reporting of a mere proposal.

  3. So. If I understand what you’re saying, IF I fly into Granarife on tueasyAir without a PCR test, even if I leave the aircraft by the rear door and walk to the bus stop wearing a fur coat, my free banana will still not entitle me to hire a cat unless it has an antigen test approved by my aunt?

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