Spain to require arrivals by land from France to present negative COVID test

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The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Madrid

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain is to require people arriving by land from France to present a negative COVID-19 test, the Health Ministry said on Saturday, amid rising numbers of French arrivals and an uptick in Spain's coronavirus rate.

Anyone arriving by land from risk areas will have to present a negative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test that was taken within 72 hours prior to their arrival.

"The order will take effect three days after its publication in the Official State Gazette and until the government declares the end of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The new requirement will not apply to truck drivers, cross-border workers, and people who live within 30 kilometres (20 miles) of the border.

Many French people, weary of their own lockdown, have been flocking over the border to enjoy open bars and restaurants in areas such as Madrid.

But Spain's coronavirus infection rate has continued to climb steadily over the past week, suggesting a long decline could be in danger of reversing.

The rate, which is measured over the preceding 14 days, rose on Friday to 138.6 per 100,000 people from 134 on Thursday, the Health Ministry said. It reported 7,586 new cases, bringing Spain's overall tally to 3.26 million. The death toll rose by 590 to 75,010.

The Health Ministry said risk areas were those classified by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. The centre's map shows that includes the whole of France.

(Reporting by Jessica Jones; Editing by Frances Kerry)