ANTIGEN TESTS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR TOURISTS TO ENTER THE CANARY ISLANDS
The Central Government has overturned the decree with which the Canary Islands intends to validate the use of antigen tests for foreign tourists to prove that they do not have the coronavirus to enter the islands.
The Council of Ministers, according to sources from the Canarian Government, yesterday studied the report of the Council of State contrary to the Canarian decree, and the consequence was, in political terms, "a regulatory one": a matter to be sent to the Constitutional Court.
This means that foreign tourists must present a negative PCR test in order to access any island or, failing that, a TMA (Transcription-Mediated Amplification), but in no terms will an antigen test be sufficient. Ángel Víctor Torres signed the decree last week, and the alarms have not stopped sounding that Madrid did not see the measure positively, and they are now armed with a legal report to refute the interference of the Canary Islands in its powers.
On Monday, the Canarian president held meetings at the highest level in Madrid to try to resolve this conflict, but the decision was practically adopted. Torres met with the deputy Prime Minister, Carmen Calvo, to, address this, but what it did achieve, at least, is that the central government does not oppose the antigen test to continue in force for Spanish travellers who want to go to the Islands during these Christmas holidays, but not for foreign or international travellers.
The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa, is the main detractor of the regulation to avoid the imposition of the PCR test, whereas the Canary Islands Government wants foreign visitors to be able to enter the Archipelago both with PCR and antigen tests, which are faster and much cheaper.
The objective is that the high price of the PCR, which can reach 150 pounds, does not make holidays in the Canary Islands more expensive for English, Germans or Dutch travellers. Definitely, It is about trying to save the winter tourist season, although the mobility restrictions that half of Europe has put into practice in recent days shatter any of that hope.
Be that as it may, the minister ignored the approval of the autonomous decree which has been in force since last Thursday, and maintained the order to the Foreign Health doctors to continue demanding a negative test result of PCR tests in ports and airports; which now has the backing of the Council of the State to annul the Canary Islands regulations.
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Aware that the decree would have no effect without Madrid's collaboration, Ángel Víctor Torres himself has been insisting in recent days on the need to “harmonize state and regional regulations”. He has recognized that the Ministry of Health in the Canaries and the central Ministry of Health have different "scientific criteria" on the suitability of antigen tests, but the truth is that Pedro Sánchez's Cabinet considers that the Government of the Canary Islands has assumed powers in borders that in no case correspond to it.
The jurists of the regional Executive understand that the delegation of powers in favour of regional presidents during the state of alarm, includes the establishment of entry and exit requirements from the territory, also those related to public health.
Thus, the solution to the conflict between the State and the Autonomous Community has only two possible paths: the "harmonization" demanded by the Canarian president, so that the Ministry agrees to include antigen tests as a valid test for foreigners; or a judicial dispute in which the region would have little in its favour, especially after the opinion of the Council of Ministers, and little to gain, since Foreign Health doctors depend on Madrid and will not accept any other orders than those from Madrid.