Many readers asked whether these kits can be used to travel after Spain announced that they will permit self-diagnosis kits to be purchased at pharmacies in Spain.
After months of pressure from the pharmaceutical sector, regional authorities and Spanish government officials, Spain’s national government has decided to authorize the sale of Covid test kits in pharmacies without the need for a prescription.
This is why Spain’s archipelagos, the Canary Islands (and the Balearic Islands) have been able require Covid testing from regions in mainland Spain they consider to be at risk of contracting new infections.
Reader question: Do you need a Covid to travel to another part of Spain this summer?
Covid-19 self test kits are available in many EU countries, including Germany and Portugal. They have been accepted to enter certain buildings, hotels, and shops but they cannot be used for travel within the region or overseas.
Self-test kits are not accepted by any EU country as a way to prove Covid status for foreign tourists.
Self-test kits will be available at pharmacies and are rapid antigen tests. These tests can also be called antibody tests, but they don’t detect viruses.
Spain accepts proof that EU/EEA travelers have passed a negative antigen test. However, several studies have shown that PCR tests are more reliable in detecting Covid-19.
The accuracy of the Abbott self-test kit was 52 percent according to a study done in Ireland last month. Test subjects took their own samples under the supervision and were able to collect them themselves.
Cochrane, a British medical research organization, stated that antigen tests were able to identify COVID-19 infection in people with confirmed COVID-19. This is compared to the 58 percent of those without symptoms.
A self-diagnosis at home test doesn’t provide you with an official document that confirms you are negative for Covid-19, as does a lab or clinic-based antigen test.
Spain’s Health Ministry is currently considering its MO to incorporate the results from self-test kits in its health database.
It seems unlikely that Spain, its countries, and other EU members will accept the self-test kit results from unvaccinated travelers to show they don’t have Covid-19.
Once this is confirmed by Spanish health authorities, we will keep you updated.