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Spain reiterates new travel rules 

Spain is stepping up coronavirus controls at its airports after the country today confirmed its first case of the Omicron variant.

Madrid confirmed the first case of a positive patient in the region with Covid-19 infected with the omicron variant, the first also in Spain. 

Variant B.1.1.529, which is assumed to have greater transmissibility, was identified for the first time in South Africa on November 22 and has since reached European countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as Hong Kong or Israel. 

This postive person is a 51-year-old man who returned from South Africa on November 28 with a stopover in Amsterdam (Netherlands). It was detected by screening with an antigen test at the Adolfo Suárez Madrid-Barajas Airport. 

The patient is said to only be showing mild symptoms and in isolation while in quarantine. 

Those who on bord the flight which landed in Madrid from the Dutch capital are being monitored.

The Microbiology Service of the General Gregorio Marañón Public Hospital confirmed the case, saying on its social network sites: “We have managed to set up an ultra-fast procedure that allows us to have the result in the same day.”

Minister of Health of the Community of Madrid, Enrique Ruiz Escudero said procedures had to be stepped up at the airport. 

“It is a good opportunity to establish these controls in a strict and serious way,” he said.

Thirteen cases of the new variant hve already reported in Portugal and dozens around Europe.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Monday that he hoped that the variant would not “alter our lives or our economy” but the government has already taken action to protect the country from the new variant.

As the search for this variant progresses, today the Health Ministry strengthened controls on all passengers arriving in Spain from the south of Africa: those traveling from South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe will have to quarantine for 10 days.

Until now, anyone arriving in Spain from a country with growing infection numbers or where variants of concern are circulating had to show a certificate proving they have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid-19 or have tested negative. From now on, according to an order published on Saturday in the Official State Gazette (BOE), arrivals “will be required, regardless of their vaccination status or if they have previously had the disease, to present a diagnostic certificate of active Covid-19 infection with a negative result.”