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Spain to reopen borders starting June 21

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-06-15 09:26
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is seen on TV screens next to a hand sanitizer during a news conference at the Moncloa Palace in Madrid, Spain, June 14, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

MADRID - Spain will reopen its frontiers with the European Union (EU) countries -- with the exception of Portugal -- on June 21, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced in a televised press conference Sunday.

Sanchez made the announcement after holding a video meeting with the leaders of Spain's 17 autonomous communities. Also from June 21, Spaniards will be able to move freely around their homeland with the expiry of the State of Alarm imposed since March.

The prime minister had previously insisted that his country's frontiers would remain closed with a 14-day quarantine imposed on arrivals from abroad until July 1.

The frontier with Portugal will reopen on July 1 (at Portugal's request), while Spain will reopen its borders for arrivals from outside the Schengen area from July 11.

Sanchez explained the policy change by pointing to the positive evolution of his country's efforts to control the coronavirus. No deaths have been reported in Spain by its Health Ministry for the past six days.

"It is a crucial moment that we have been preparing for," explained Sanchez, adding that after July 1, there would be a "scaled" re-opening of the borders for non-EU nations that are in an "equal or better epidemiological" situation regarding the virus than Spain and which are willing to "act reciprocally."

Sanchez's announcement came a day before the start of a pilot scheme which will see over 10,000 German tourists visit the Balearic Islands as Spain looks to reopen its tourist industry, which has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus.

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