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Coronavirus: Vacations in Spain: Where can I travel from and what are the requisites for entry to the country? | Travel

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Spain reopened its borders to global travelers on Monday, and tourists from any part of the world will be able to visit the country during the summer high season. That was the announcement made by Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on May 21 at the Fitur tourism fair in Madrid – but there is plenty of small print for those traveling to Spanish shores, depending on who they are and where they are coming from. There are different requirements according to the reason for the trip – essential travel or for leisure – the place of origin – from inside or outside the European Union – and even the type of tourist – whether or not they have been vaccinated.

The new measures are aimed at facilitating international mobility now that the coronavirus vaccine campaigns are progressing across the world. The EU’s Digital Covid Certificate will also assist with this process, a scheme that will be fully in force by July 1 but is already being used in a number of member states (the majority of Spanish regions are already issuing them, for example).

Below are the main questions and answers for tourists who want to visit Spain in the coming months.

Can you visit Spain for a leisure trip from other EU countries?

Yes, you can. This kind of travel, in fact, was only restricted during the toughest part of the pandemic – the three-month lockdown that began in March 2020. After this phase, once the internal borders of the EU were reopened, they have not been closed again apart from a few exceptions. That led to a paradoxical situation that lasted for months, whereby a German national could travel to the Balearic Islands or Andalusia, while residents of Spain could not leave their own region due to the perimetral lockdowns in force.

Are there any restrictions for these European travelers?

It depends on the case. From the green-light areas designated by the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) you can travel without any barriers – but in practice there are few European territories that are on this level. The majority – except some zones in Finland, Norway, Iceland and Malta – will have to present an additional requirement for entry: a vaccination certificate, a negative PCR or antigen test carried out in the 48 hours prior to arrival, or a certificate showing the bearer has contracted, and recovered from, Covid-19. Any of these documents should be in Spanish, English, French or German, or alternatively translated into Spanish by an official body. Minors under 12 are exempt from these requirements.

Are any vaccines accepted, and is one dose enough?

No. Firstly, the vaccines administered must have been approved by either the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the World Health Organization (WHO) – i.e. Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Oxford-AstraZeneca, Janssen, Sinopharm or Sinovac-Coronavac. What’s more, proof of vaccination will only be valid once 14 days have passed since receiving the full doses required for the vaccine to offer full protection – two doses in all cases but the Janssen medication, which only requires one. The vaccination certificate must have been issued by the appropriate authorities in the country of origin and must include name and surname, date of vaccination (indicating the day the last shot was administered), type of vaccine, number of doses, country of issue and the details of which body issued the certificate.

How do you prove that you have had and overcome Covid-19?

In this case, the recovery certificate must be issued by the competent authority or by a medical service at least 11 days after the first positive PCR test has been carried out. These natural antibodies against the virus are considered to be valid for 180 days, which is the time that this certificate will allow people to travel within the EU. The document must include the bearer’s full name, the date the test was taken, the type of test and the country of issue.

From which non-EU countries can you travel without restrictions?

There is a list of countries whose residents are not affected by the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the European Union. That’s to say, areas from which you can travel with no barriers due to their current control of the pandemic. These countries or territories are: Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Rwanda, Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Macao. In these cases, it is not necessary to present evidence of a negative coronavirus test, vaccination or having overcome the disease. It should be noted that in the case of the United Kingdom, Spain remains on the government’s “amber list.” This means travelers returning to the UK from Spain must take a coronavirus test before travel, quarantine for at least 10 days on return, and take two home PCR tests that must come back negative before quarantine can end.

And from the rest of the non-EU countries, can people visit Spain for tourism?

The reopening of the country on Monday was designed for these countries. Specifically, all travelers who have been fully vaccinated with one of the medications approved by the EMA or the OMS two weeks prior to arrival. Tourists who cannot prove they are immunized under these conditions are excluded, even if they have a negative test, have been vaccinated with a different medication, or can prove they have overcome Covid-19.

What about minors who have not been vaccinated?

The under-12s who are traveling with an adult who has had a vaccine that’s been approved by the EMA or the WHO can enter Spain with no restrictions.

Are there any exceptions?

Yes. The government has kept an ace up its sleeve for when new variants of the virus emerge and can thus exclude countries where these strains are circulating out of control. For example, the government order specifies that risk countries are subject to quarantine. Currently, only India is in this situation, meaning that tourists cannot come from there to Spain even if they are fully vaccinated.

In practice, arrivals from Brazil and South Africa are also barred. The exceptions are for Spanish or Andorran nationals, residents of those two countries, or passengers in transit to a non-Schengen area country with a layover of less than 24 hours (without leaving the airport transit area), as well as airline personal necessary for air transportation activities.

Are there any ways you can travel to Spain from outside the EU if you are not vaccinated?

Not if the trip is for leisure or tourism. There are only a few exceptions that can justify the journey: if you are a habitual resident of the EU, Schengen-associated states, Andorra, Monaco, the Vatican or San Marino and you are traveling to that destination; if you are the holder of a long-term visa issued by a Schengen member state or associated state and are traveling to that country; healthcare professionals, including researchers and professional senior carers who are returning to their jobs; transportation, marine and aeronautical personal who are needed for air transportation activities; diplomatic and consular staff, as well as personnel from international, military or civil protection organizations, and members of humanitarian organizations who are working; students who are studying in Schengen member states and associated states and have the corresponding permission or visa for a long stay, provided they are traveling to the country where they are studying, and that they enter during the academic term or during the 15 days prior to its commencement; highly skilled workers whose work is essential and cannot be postponed or done remotely, including high-level sportsmen and sportswomen taking part in high-level sporting competitions in Spain; people who are traveling for essential and documented family reasons; and people who can provide evidence of force majeure or essential need.

If you have any doubts about these requirements, the full text of the Official State Bulletin (BOE) can be read here in Spanish.

Is there any official documentation to be filled out?

Yes, in all cases independently of origin, whether you arrive by air or sea, and for the under-12s too. All travelers must fill out a health control form, which can be found at www.spth.gob.es or the Spain Travel Health app. The QR code that will be created on filling out the form must be shown before boarding, as well as on arrival.

Do passengers on cruise ships have to fill out the same obligatory documentation?

Passengers on international cruises should not use the Spain Travel Health application. In that case, the necessary information is collected via the EU Digital Passenger Locator Form.

What controls are there when you arrive in the country by land?

When entering by land from risk zones in France, travelers should carry one of the aforementioned tests: vaccination certificate, negative coronavirus tests or a certificate of recovery from Covid-19.

English version by Simon Hunter.



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Why is offshore wind the ‘Cinderella’ of EU climate policy?

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Last year, 2020, saw seismic energy policy shifts across the industry. The global gas-market remains bearish and extraordinarily oversupplied, with gas prices seeing increasing downward pressure and volatility. Whereas, in the face of global turmoil, the offshore wind power industry continues to thrive.

The unprecedented year of new offshore wind farm installations resulted in a total of over 35 GW capacity operating across the globe by the end of 2020.

From the long-term perspective, the Ocean Renewable Energy Action Coalition (OREAC) has set a goal of 1,400 GW by 2050, which means an accelerated pace of global roll-out of offshore wind generation projects.

On 14 July, the European Commission unveiled its long-awaited ‘Fit for 55’ package, seeking to overhaul EU regulation that lines up with the bloc’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030. This involves a new 2030 renewable energy goal. According to the latest European Commission’s impact assessment it ought to be at least 38-40 percent, in place of the current 32 percent renewables target.

That means that the EU requires 433-452 GW of wind energy capacity by 2030 – a threefold increase on the 179 GW installed today.

Wind power will be the principal delivering technology of the Green Deal in the European Commission’s strategic long-term vision for climate-neutral economy.

Hitting the bloc’s decarbonisation goal will require a 25-fold increase in offshore wind capacity. And an even bigger build-up in the number of new onshore wind capacity.

Industry can deliver the volumes pending a robust EU industrial renewables policy that guarantees that such a grand huge wind power expansion is made in Europe and that the industry is cost-competitive both within and outside the EU.

Technology is not the main barrier to the deployment of wind energy needed for the Green Deal however.

The European energy market is quite complex, serving millions of households and business round the clock. Presently, there are no market mechanisms for offshore grid development projects to be bankable. Countries have diverse capital programmes and market operation rules which hinder investment flows in offshore hybrid projects from being discharged.

The vagueness on future market design and revenues for offshore wind farms prevents the process of an integrated offshore grid deployment.

Grid gridlock?

Today, Europe invests about €40bn a year on grids, which is not enough. In order to expand and optimise Europe grid infrastructure. annual investments in grid infrastructure shall go up to €66-80bn per year over the next 30 years.

Efforts will be needed at offering clarity via regulatory changes to the EU Electricity Regulation, particularly it shall be better addressed how offshore wind projects will be dealt with when it comes to congestion income distribution and cross-border capacity allocation.

The benefits of an accelerated development will be substantial. The EU wind energy sector generates €37bn to EU GDP, operates 248 factories across the EU, and each new wind turbine installed in Europe would contribute €10m of economic activity.

Offshore wind energy is one of the most promising and cost-competitive source of power generation in Europe.

But present policies will not deliver these numbers – neither on volumes, nor on economic benefits. Higher goals are necessary but not sufficient.

Europe requires stronger delivery, monitoring, and enforcement mechanisms to make sure that 2030 is a stepping stone towards a climate-neutral energy system.

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Delta COVID Variant Reportedly Draws Biden’s Attention, Resources Away From Other Priorities

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Despite high overall rates of vaccinations in the US, more and more Americans are getting infected with the new, rapidly spreading ‘delta’ variant of the coronavirus, once again testing the limits of hospitals and reportedly sparking talks about new mask-up orders from authorities.

The rapidly increasing number of new COVID-19 cases in the US caused by the more infectious delta strain of the virus is frustrating the Biden administration, as the problem draws attention and resources away from other priorities that the White House would like to concentrate on, the Washington Post reported, citing several anonymous sources. Among the problems that the administration reportedly had to de-prioritise are Biden’s infrastructure initiatives, voting rights, an overhaul of policing, gun control and immigration.

The White House reportedly hoped that the pandemic would be gradually ebbing by this time, allowing it to focus more on other presidential plans. Instead, the Biden administration is growing “anxious” about the growing number of daily COVID-19 cases, the newspaper sources said. The White House press secretary indirectly confirmed that Biden is currently preoccupied with the pandemic the most.

“Getting the pandemic under control [and] protecting Americans from the spread of the virus has been [and] continues to be his number-one priority. It will continue to be his priority moving forward. There’s no question,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said on 22 July.

The administration had reportedly expected new outbreaks in the country, but not as many as they’re seeing. Current analytical models predict anything between a few thousand new cases and 200,000 new infected daily, the Washington Post reported. Washington also fears that daily deaths might reach over 700 per day, up from the current average of 250. However, the White House doesn’t expect the pandemic numbers to return to their 2020 peak levels.

At the same time, the Biden administration is trying to find scapegoats to blame for the current shortcomings in fighting the coronavirus pandemic in the country. Namely, Biden  last week accused the social media platform of failing to combat the spread of disinformation on COVID-19 and thus “killing people”. The statement raised many eyebrows since many platforms mark COVID-related posts and insert links to reliable sources of information regarding the disease and the vaccination efforts aimed at fighting it. The White House also hinted that the Republican-controlled states became the main sources of new COVID cases, while often underperforming in terms of vaccination rates.



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Sierra Leone abolishes death penalty | Global development

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Sierra Leone has become the latest African state to abolish the death penalty after MPs voted unanimously to abandon the punishment.

On Friday the west African state became the 23rd country on the continent to end capital punishment, which is largely a legacy of colonial legal codes. In April, Malawi ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional, while Chad abolished it in 2020. In 2019, the African human rights court ruled that mandatory imposition of the death penalty by Tanzania was “patently unfair”.

Of those countries that retain the death penalty on their statute books, 17 are abolitionist in practice, according to Amnesty International.

A de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty has existed in Sierra Leone since 1998, after the country controversially executed 24 soldiers for their alleged involvement in a coup attempt the year before.

Under Sierra Leone’s 1991 constitution, the death penalty could be prescribed for murder, aggravated robbery, mutiny and treason.

Last year, Sierra Leone handed down 39 death sentences, compared with 21 in 2019, according to Amnesty, and 94 people were on death row in the country at the end of last year.

Rhiannon Davis, director of the women’s rights group AdvocAid, said: “It’s a huge step forward for this fundamental human right in Sierra Leone.

“This government, and previous governments, haven’t chosen to [put convicts to death since 1998], but the next government might have taken a different view,” she said.

“They [prisoners] spend their life on death row, which in effect is a form of torture as you have been given a death sentence that will not be carried out because of the moratorium, but you constantly have this threat over you as there’s nothing in law to stop that sentence being carried out.”

Davis said the abolition would be particularly beneficial to women and girls accused of murdering an abuser.

“Previously, the death penalty was mandatory in Sierra Leone, meaning a judge could not take into account any mitigating circumstances, such as gender-based violence,” she said.

Umaru Napoleon Koroma, deputy minister of justice, who has been involved in the abolition efforts, said sentencing people on death row to “life imprisonment with the possibility of them reforming is the way to go”.

Across sub-Saharan Africa last year Amnesty researchers recorded a 36% drop in executions compared with 2019 – from 25 to 16. Executions were carried out in Botswana, Somalia and South Sudan.

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