Dr Fernando Simón, Director, Centre for Coordination of Health Alerts & Emergencies | Palacio de la Moncloa


The Ministry of Health is not in favour of conducting mass coronavirus tests on tourists at Airports, according to Fernando Simón, Director of the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts & Emergencies.

“In the face of residual mobility, this approach could make sense, but I don't really think so," he said. "Put yourself in the position of testing 300-400 passengers at a time, when one plane after another is arriving and having to give them the results within a reasonable time because you can’t have them scattered all over the place.”

Dr Simón also pointed out that “a positive case must be given a way out and a negative test does not mean that the person is not infected, it just means that the virus has not been detected at that time, so it can give them a false sense of security."

From Sunday, the new normal begins in Spain and Dr Simon is confident that Hospitals and Health Centres are ready and that there’s more than enough beds available in Hospitals and Intensive Care Units.

"We have the capacity to increase the number of beds because they are not needed immediately at the beginning of an epidemic and the number of tourists visiting Spain in 2020 is expected to be lower than the 82 million that normally come, so capacity should be sufficient."

Dr Simón confirmed that a decision will be taken at the end of this week about whether to conduct PCR tests on anyone who’s been in contact with a patient who has contracted Covid-19.

“The advantage of doing it immediately is to detect some of them at the moment the virus is active and can be transmitted, but the problem is that the negative ones would have to be done again because we don't know if they will be positive a day later and if all close contacts have to be quarantined, doing a PCR test won’t change their situation,” he said. “But doing it after seven days, when the immune response begins and the virus is not viable is perhaps another option because it would reduce the period of isolation.

Spain is currently working at European Union level to guarantee that access to the future vaccine "is fair" in all member states.