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Message from the British Consulate on Coronavirus (Read 228 times)
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Message from the British Consulate on Coronavirus
Mar 15th, 2020 at 2:58pm
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15 March 2020

The FCO has updated its Travel Advice to advise against all but essential travel to Spain, following the restrictions put in place by the Spanish government in response to the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19). For more information visit (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain).

On 14 March, the Spanish government introduced a State of Emergency, which imposes significant restrictions on movement throughout Spain in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Transport services will be operating at reduced levels. Public gatherings are banned, most shops, many businesses and all schools and universities are closed, and residents have been instructed to remain at home as much as possible. There are limited, specific exceptions to the requirement to remain at home, in particular in order to buy food or other essential items, to return home to the primary residence, to go to work if unable to work from home and to carry out caring or similar duties.

We keep our travel advice under constant review and recommend that British nationals sign up for alerts, so they know when it has been updated. Anyone with upcoming journeys planned, should check with their airlines and tour operators for the latest information. Wherever you are in Spain you should follow the instructions of the local authorities.

British Ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott, recorded a video message for UK nationals explaining the implications of the state of emergency for both residents and tourists. He also thanked the Spanish authorities saying: “A big thank you to the Spanish authorities, in particular the healthcare professionals, for all the great work they are doing to help keep everyone in Spain – of all nationalities – safe, in circumstances that are very challenging indeed.” You can view the video at www.facebook.com/britsinspain.

For more information on coronavirus, please follow the advice of the Spanish government (https://www.mscbs.gob.es/) and UK government (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus).

CONTACT: Debbi Christophers, Tel: 919 906 845.
  
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Nigel
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UPDATED: Message from the British Consulate
Reply #1 - Mar 26th, 2020 at 5:32pm
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Dear All,

I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy in these difficult times we find ourselves in. Apologies for the rather mammoth update, but I wanted to make sure you had all the information that might be useful. If there are other things you would like more content on, please let me know and I will do my best to help.

As you know, all our latest information is on https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain and www.facebook.com and we would be grateful if you could share and crosspost links as appropriate. The Q&A document that is pinned to the top of our Facebook page is kept updated and is a useful place to refer any visitors that may be coming to you for information.

Specifically for tourists trying to return to the UK:

The Spanish authorities have published a list of hotels and short-stay accommodation that will remain open during the state of emergency. You can view the list at https://www.boe.es/…/di…/2020/03/25/pdfs/BOE-A-2020-4027.pdf. (No need to wade through the whole document – the list is at the end).

We are publishing an updated list of flights leaving for the UK each day on our social media channels. They are becoming increasingly limited, so we do urge people who want to return to take the first flight available and to be flexible about their destination airport.

To drive back through France, the French authorities require that you fill in a declaration to explain your reason for travel. You should also have evidence of your onward travel plan (i.e. ferry/rail ticket). Please check our travel advice page for France for the latest information. If you do not have access to the printer, you can write the declaration by hand. https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/france and we have produced the attached document, which people should print (if they can) or show on their phone.

There are also some specific areas that may be useful to residents as well as tourists:

Driving

We know the rules around driving during the state of emergency have been causing some confusion. Here is our latest information on this:

1. You should not be making unnecessary journeys. If you need to go somewhere there should be one person only per vehicle, unless you are accompanied by someone with a disability, a minor, an elderly person or for another justifiable cause. Whilst we cannot specify what would be considered justifiable, some of you have asked us ab...out driving a partner to a hospital or other medical appointment. We cannot guarantee that this would be accepted, but should you choose to make this journey we recommend that the passenger sits in the back behind the front passenger seat and that you carry documentation showing the purpose of your journey.
2. The Interior Ministry and Policia Local have confirmed that cars and minivans carrying families/groups of passengers is permitted, as long as the purpose of the journey is to return to your country of residence. All passengers should carry their passports, proof of where they live and evidence of their onward journey (e.g. ferry booking). Please refer to our previous posts on the need for a declaration to drive through France and the letter from the British Embassy that you can use.
3. You should take public transport or taxi to the airport, rather than being driven by friends. If you are travelling as a family you may be required to take separate taxis. Some taxi companies will only take customers wearing face masks. Please check at the time of booking.

Healthcare
NB. Please be aware that this advice/procedure may change day-to-day as the health authorities put new triage systems in place

For Visitors
If you are temporarily in Spain and you need to see the doctor, please be reassured that the UK EHIC is still valid for the rest of 2020 and will cover you for any necessary treatment, including prescriptions. You can get renewals by contacting the nearest healthcare centre to you. Due to Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak, you must follow the advice of local authorities, comply with self-isolation, testing or quarantine requirements. Please see here for details on gov.uk and here for further information from the Spanish authorities. The latest UK health advice is at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.

If you don’t have a UK EHIC and think you are entitled to one, please call NHS BSA 00 44 191 218 1999 for a replacement. When you call NHS BSA, you will need the email address of the closest Spanish healthcare centre. Your replacement EHIC will be emailed there

Q&A
1.      I am currently visiting Spain and have my EHIC, will this cover any treatment I need if I get infected?

Yes, if you are temporarily in Spain and you need to see the doctor, please be reassured that the UK EHIC is still valid for the rest of 2020 and will cover you for any necessary treatment.  If you don’t have your EHIC with you, if you have lost it, or it has expired, you can apply for a Provisional Replacement Certificate by calling NHS BSA on 00 44 191 218 1999.

2.      I am currently visiting Spain and I have run out of my medicine.  How do I get more?
If you are concerned that you will run out of prescribed medication before you return to the UK, or if you have already run out of your medication, please follow the instructions below.  You must follow the advice and/or restrictions of local authorities.

Andalusia:  To obtain prescription medicine in Andalusia on your EHIC, you must telephone the nearest health centre to make your request. Please consult here to find your nearest centre.
Balearics (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza): To obtain prescription medicine in the Balearics as a visitor, you must telephone the nearest health centre to make your request.  You must not visit the health centre in person unless you have already called and have been instructed to do so.  To find out where the nearest health centre is, you can call the following numbers or consult here:
Mallorca 971170053 / Menorca 971360925 / Ibiza 971390100
Valencia (Alicante): Please visit your local healthcare centre in order to get a prescription from the GP.

Canaries (Tenerife, Las Palmas, Lanzarote, Fuerteventura):
You must call 902111012 before going to the healthcare centre for non-emergencies. The line is experiencing a lot of calls, please continue to ring. You will get through to someone.

Catalunya (Barcelona):
For further information about how you can obtain prescription medicine, please call 012 from a landline.

For Residents

If you are currently registered within the Spanish healthcare System, you will continue to have access to healthcare as you do now.

1.      I have been issued with an S1 form but I have not been able to register it. How can I get medical care?

If you have been issued with an S1 form and registered for residency, but you have not been able to register it with the INSS (Spanish Social Security), then please email the Healthcare Team at healthcare.spain@fco.gov.uk They will help you process your application electronically

If you have been issued with an S1 form but you have not been able to register for residency, you can use your EHIC to access any necessary care, including prescriptions. If you don’t have a UK EHIC, please call NHS BSA 00 44 191 218 1999 for a replacement. When you call NHS BSA, you will need the email address of the closest Spanish healthcare centre. Your replacement EHIC will be emailed there.

2.      I am entitled to Spanish healthcare cover because I am a permanent resident.. I haven’t processed my paperwork yet.

Please email the Healthcare Team at healthcare.spain@fco.gov.uk They will help you process your application electronically.

3.      I am entitled to Spanish healthcare cover because I am a dependent on someone who is registered with the social security system. I haven’t processed my paperwork yet.

Please email the Healthcare Team at healthcare.spain@fco.gov.uk They will help you process your application electronically.

Residency

Questions from UKNs who live in Spain but who are currently in the UK
-      All borders are currently closed to enter Spain, except for Spanish nationals, Spanish residents (ie those with the green residency certificate), frontier workers and those who can prove they need to enter for essential reasons. We cannot guarantee that anyone not in possession of the residency certificate will be allowed entry and would advise them to stay in the UK until the situation changes.
Questions from UKNs in Spain who are not yet resident, but intend to be
-      Due to the emergency measures currently in place in Spain due to COVID-19, all residency appointments at immigration offices and national police stations have been cancelled.  It is therefore not possible to register as resident at this time
-      UK nationals who live in Spain but who do not currently possess a residency document will be able to obtain this document once the restrictions are lifted and appointments resume.  Please see https://sede.administracionespublicas.gob.es/icpplus/ for further information
-      If the person is worried about securing their residency rights due to Brexit: Please be assured that as long as a UKN is legally living in Spain by the end of this year, they will fall under the Withdrawal Agreement and enjoy the rights that this protects for as long as they remain resident in Spain.  Anyone who doesn’t currently have a residency document should take steps to obtain this once the emergency restrictions are lifted and appointments resume (signpost to same place as above and to https://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/brexit/howtoprepare/Paginas/190108residence...
-      If a person is worried that they have overstayed their time in Spain – reassure them that the 90 in 180 day rule does not take effect until 1 January 2021. UK nationals still enjoy freedom of movement rights for the remainder of this year. They should check that their extended stay does not have implications for their travel or health insurance cover, but the most important thing is that they stay safe.
And finally, our consulates remain open, but are only able to see people by appointment. As you can imagine, they are hugely busy right now and so any support that you can give in helping make sure that both residents and visitors have the latest information is hugely appreciated.

All the very best,
Debbi


Debbi Christophers | Consular Communications Officer | Communications Team | British Embassy Madrid
BE Madrid | Torre Espacio | Paseo de la Castellana 259D | 28046 Madrid
+34 919 906 845 | +34 673 596 770 | ECHO: 8360 6845  | Deborah.Christophers2@fco.gov.uk
  

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