03 November, 2020
Casamona’s essential guide to testing for COVID-19 in Barcelona, Spain
As of the 1st November 2020, Spain has recorded the highest number of new Covid-19 cases in Europe, with over 1.2 million cases nation-wide. This highlights the significance of the problem but is also evidential of the growing testing capacity, 2.42 tests per 1000 citizens as of October 2020. Here, we at Casamona will explain how to get a Covid-19 test and what you should do if you or someone you know tests positive for Covid-19 or presents symptoms.
What to do if you think you have Covid-19 in Spain or have been in contact with someone who has contracted the virus:
According to the World Health Organisation, these are the most common symptoms of Covid-19: “fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Other symptoms that are less common and may affect some patients include loss of taste or smell, aches and pains, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, red eyes, diarrhoea, or a skin rash.”
The Spanish government strongly advises that if you believe that you have symptoms, you should isolate yourself from the rest of your household. Then you should arrange to get a test, whether that be by going to a testing centre or booking one over the telephone. After this, you should continue to isolate until you find out your result. If you receive a negative result you can stop isolating, if not you must quarantine for 7 days or until your symptoms subside. We would also recommend that you get another test to make sure you’re Covid-negative.
If you think that someone in your household has symptoms, they should then isolate from the rest of the household, not use communal spaces and use a separate bathroom if possible, in addition to getting tested. If the result is positive for COVID-19, that person and the rest of your household should self isolate for a further 14 days after taking the test. You should avoid leaving your house and only leave if it is absolutely necessary.
Furthermore, if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, you should then isolate yourself for 14 days and attempt to get a test. HOWEVER, even if this test comes back negative for COVID-19, you must carry on isolating yourself for the full 14 days due to the long incubation period of the virus.
How do you get a Covid-19 test in Barcelona?
For EU citizens:
Here in Spain, we have a ‘universal public healthcare system’ which means that for Spanish and EU citizens, healthcare is free at the point of access. The healthcare system is considered one of the best in Europe with short waiting times, excellent care and expertise. In Catalonia and specifically Barcelona, the medical care that you will receive is excellent but can bose challenges to foreign citizens.
This has been experienced first-hand by some of our Casamona Interns from the UK. To be able to receive a free test you must have symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in direct contact with someone who has the virus. If this is not the case, and you need a test for other personal reasons, you will have to pay for the test with prices ranging from €90 – €150.
However, if you are eligible for a free test, you can get these at your local CAP. The Catalonian health system (CAT-Salut) advises that you call the number +34 061 to get advice and seek non-urgent medical assistance. You have the option of booking a test in advance or arriving at a walk-in testing centre, although you may have to queue for a few hours.
HOWEVER, if you do not have a Spanish telephone number, and in some cases a Spanish landline, you cannot make the call to the 061 number, meaning you cannot book an appointment for a test. This may lead to problems and thus we at Casamona would advise you to click on this link: https://catsalut.gencat.cat/ca/centres-sanitaris/ which takes you to the CAT-Salut website (Catalonian Healthcare), which has advice and guidance. It is here where you can find your local CAP. One can also find individual telephone numbers here for each respective CAP and thus you will be able to and we would advise you to call these numbers before turning up for a test.
What documentation you need for a test:
When you go to the testing centre and you are only temporarily in Spain, you must bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and present it upon arrival. It is also advisable to bring your passport with you too. If however, you are a resident of Spain, you should get an NIE card. This gives you a DNI number and thus makes you eligible for a test. (The process for obtaining this card can be tedious; click this link with more information and advice).
For Non-EU citizens and British people after the 31st December 2020:
For British citizens, if you live in Spain you should attempt to get a TIE number and then an NIE number, both giving you the right to live and work in Spain. Here, the Spanish government gives advice on the Brexit process and how British citizens residing in Spain will be affected. Nevertheless, after the transition process is over if you work and live in Spain and pay Spanish taxes, you and your family are immediately given access to the universal healthcare scheme and all you need to do is show your NIE or TIE documentation. This is the same for other non-EU countries.
However, this can sometimes be a tricky process, especially for foreigners, and from personal experience, we understand the struggle to access healthcare and specific advice on coronavirus in Spain. Therefore, there is another avenue for you to access healthcare quickly: Private healthcare. Though you may incur significant costs, the service is sometimes seen as better and faster, but this opinion is not universal and if you have the option to use the public system it is recommended. Despite this, you do get results with the private system BUT we would recommend that you take out sufficient health insurance before you come to the country. Below, we have linked a few Spanish health insurance companies that cover Covid-19 and have a broad spectrum of services:
- Sanitas – The Spanish version of BUPA, if you have BUPA insurance in another country, you are most likely to also be covered in Spain, making this an excellent insurance option. If you think you have coronavirus and you are covered by Sanitas, you can call them: +34 91 752 29 02 and they will respond to you accordingly. Here, you can get an answer for free within 30 minutes.
- Quirónsalud – “Quirónsalud is the leading company in Spain in the provision of health services.” If you think you have Covid-19, phone Quirónsalud on 910 68 78 78. They also have a walk-in testing centre where you can receive results in under 48 hours.
- Turo Park Medical Centre (Private Hospital) – you can book a Covid-19 PCR test here and also an antibody test. Prices range from €60 – €180.
- Other Health insurance companies are available, Acierto and Rastreator are comparison websites and they enable you to compare different quotes for private health insurance to make sure you get the best price and policy for you.