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COVID-19 Advisory for patients | Facialteam

March 15, 2021
Reading Time: 14 minutes

This is our COVID Advisory, Facialteam’s periodic update on the developing situation as it affects our operations and patients.

Changes to given information may occur without notice. Always check with local and international authorities, plus our coordinators as well as your airline on a frequent basis due to the possibility of modifications or cancellations.

Useful links (may not be updated): IATA site for global restrictions summary & general travel info

2021 Ongoing Updates

Data update: Facialteam reports over 10 months with an impressive 0% incidence of covid infection among patients and staff, thanks to our strict Covid-Safe Protocol. All our staff were fully vaccinated as of February 2021 and have completed the last early detection testing on April 5th.

Travel Restrictions vary, generally being revised every 7 – 15 days depending on the country.  Best to reserve direct flights to Málaga, but if you have a layover in a third country, be sure to check as some restrictions may apply to passengers in transit too.

Contact your local Spanish Embassy frequently, as well as your country’s consulate in Spain and your coordinator for updates from Facialteam’s Travel Monitorization System.

Spain: Vaccines continue to be rolled out. Travelers to Spain must still complete the Health Form in advance, and present a negative PCR 72 hours prior to arrival (Only private lab results are permitted, with the patient name and test type indicated).

EU & Schengen Area Countries: Check your resident country requirements regularly as returning traveler quarantines are subject to evolving local laws.

-In February, Germany  removed Spain from the high-risk list requiring a negative PCR before returning.

Netherlands announced as of March 16th, passengers with connecting flights to Spain only need to have a PCR result within 72 hours of boarding (antibody blood test no longer required).  Spain is still considered a “high risk” origin, so incoming travelers from Marbella will be required to show a PCR within 24 hours prior to boarding  -OR- an antigen test 24 hours before along with a PCR 72 hours before boarding.

UK citizens should carefully review the permissions required to exit/enter Britain. Spain’s limitations on UK citizens who wish to travel to Spain, are now subject to periodic amendments to determine certain exceptions.  Contact your nearest Spanish consulate in the UK for updates.

Non-Schengen States in Europe: Border regulations are based on recommendations for non-Schengen countries in the European region by the European Commission. The March meeting did not announce significant updates.  The next meeting is on April 30th.

USA/Canada: FT maintains 100% approval rates for travel authorizations of United States & Canadian applications for entry into Spain for surgery. We are optimistic that US & Canadian citizens may continue to apply with the correct documentation in hand. Both countries have consulate offices in the Malaga province. Canadians should check here about return requirements fluctuate. For example, US citizens now only need to have an antigen test (blood analysis) or PCR within 72 hours of boarding. Facialteam remains by your side to assist with applications, just speak with your coordinator for guidance!

AU: Given the clause “medical treatment no readily available in Australia,” Australian citizens may apply for an exception to the travel ban. Facial Gender Surgery meets the criteria when properly justified and we have had patients gain authorization thanks to Facialteam’s qualifying documents (supplied upon request). Although quarantine requirements upon return raise the costs for travelers, the online application for international travel has proven successful after justification of cause. See details on the Home Affairs website.

JAN 2021

Data update: We now report 8 months with an impressive 0% incidence of covid infection among patients and staff, thanks to our strict Covid-Safe Protocol.

Restrictions are evolving and revised by each country and the EU on a regular basis, at least every 15 days. As previously mentioned, stay in contact with your local Spanish Embassy, your country’s consulate in Spain and especially our coordinators who have continually updated information thanks to our Travel Monitorization System.

Spain: Andalusian restrictions evolve depending on the municipality’s infection status, reviewing curfews, business and town closures on a regular basis. Mandatory facial protective masks and hand disinfection in all public areas continues. Group sizes are limited depending on the activity and current covid infection rates.

In the 48 hours prior to flying, the online Health form is still mandatory for all travelers entering Spain. IMPORTANT: A PCR (nasal swab) is required in the 72 hours prior to arrival. Only private lab results are permitted, with the patient name and test type indicated.

EU & Schengen Area Countries: Later this month the EU commission will announce any changes for travelers within the EU and Schengen area, which remains open although specific to each country.  However, check your resident country requirements regularly as returning traveler quarantines are subject to local laws.

UK: The travel ban for UK citizens does not include an exception for medically necessary travel currently, but will be reviewed by February 16th, when any changes will be announced. Be prepared with a passport that is valid for more than 6 months after the date of travelContact your nearest Spanish consulate in the UK for any updates.

Non-Schengen States in Europe: Border regulations recommendations for non-Schengen countries in the European region has been announced by the European Commission. The main improvement is that reciprocity with EU citizens is a beneficial factor in gaining entry to the EU.

Spain now will need to publish their regulations based on those recommendations, which state:

“Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 28 January member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:

Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and China, including Hong Kong and Macao (subject to confirmation of reciprocity).”

USA/Canada: FT is maintaining progress for United States & Canadian applications for entry into Spain for surgery. We are optimistic that US & Canadian citizens in the future will not have difficulty in gaining the travel authorization certificate with the correct documentation in hand. Both countries have consulate offices in the Malaga province. Facialteam remains by your side to assist with applications, just speak with your coordinator for guidance!

AU: Given the clause “medical treatment no readily available in Australia,” AU citizens may apply as an exception to the travel ban. FFS complies with this criteria when properly justified and we have had patients gain authorization thanks to Facialteam’s qualifying documents (supplied upon request). Although quarantine requirements upon return raise the costs for travelers, the online application for international travel has proven successful after justification of cause and is relatively simple! See details on the Home Affairs website.

Changes to the above information may occur without notice. Always check with local and international authorities, our coordinators as well as your airline on a frequent basis due to the possibility of modifications or cancellations.

Statistics July – September 2020

The video below reflects Facialteam statistics from July to September 2020.

DEC 2020

Data update: Facialteam completes the year with a 0% incidence of covid infection among patients and staff since reopening, thanks to our strict Covid-Safe Protocol.  Also of note, our Travel Monitor tracks nearly 50 countries on a regular basis, permitting our coordinators to provide up-to-date information and supporting documentation for any necessary visas.

Spain: Andalusia has relaxed some of the restrictions as of December 12th due to declining rates of infection. A 10PM curfew and bar closures at 6PM remain in effect, as well as masks and hand disinfection in all public areas. Group sizes are limited depending on the activity.

In the 48 hours prior to flying, the online Health form is still mandatory for all travelers entering Spain. IMPORTANT: A PCR (nasal swab) is required in the 72 hours prior to arrival. Only private lab results are permitted, with the patient name and test type indicated.

EU: Later this month the EU commission will announce any changes to restrictions for travelers within the Schengen area and from other non-member states. Currently no quarantine is required for EU travelers in Spain. However, check your resident country requirements regularly as incoming traveler quarantines are subject to local laws.

UK: As with all EU citizens, UK travelers currently require no special documents until December 31st. However, pending announcements due to the completion of Brexit are expected by the end of the year. Specifics will be available in January. Be prepared with a passport that is valid for more than 6 months after the date of travelContact your nearest Spanish consulate in the UK for any updates.

USA/Canada: FT is proud to have made progress in speaking with authorities. All the United States & Canadian applications for entry into Spain for surgery in January have been approved!  This includes all formerly denied applications, so we are optimistic that US & Canadian citizens in the future will not have difficulty in gaining the travel visa with the correct documentation in hand. Both countries have consulate offices in the Malaga province. Facialteam remains by your side to assist with applications, just speak with your coordinator for guidance!

AU: Given the clause “medical treatment no readily available in Australia,” AU citizens may apply as an exception to the travel ban. FFS complies with this criteria when properly justified and we have had patients gain authorization thanks to Facialteam’s qualifying documents (supplied upon request). Although quarantine requirements upon return raise the costs for travelers, the online application for international travel has proven successful after justification of cause and is relatively simple! See details on the Home Affairs website.

Changes to the above information may occur without notice. Always check with local and international authorities as well as your airline on a frequent basis due to the possibility of modifications or cancellations.

NOV 2020

EU:  According to the EU Commission update in effect since October 22nd, travel to Spain from other Schengen states for FFS is permitted according to section III, point number 9:  “Temporary travel restrictions should also not apply to persons travelling in order to receive essential medical care… [requiring] a statement confirming the person’s need for essential medical care from a medical practitioner registered in a Member State.” Yet Spanish law does not necessarily include medical purposes for travellers outside of the Schengen zone. Ask us for advice on which clause is best for you.

US citizens may apply to their closest Spanish Embassy for a visa no earlier than 2 months before travel. Concession is not guaranteed as you must make your case for medical travel, but some patients have been granted entrance into Spain for essential medical attention. Ask us for our letter template and other supporting documents to help you. 

Australians have an online application process and a 2-week quarantine requirement on return in a hotel at a designated port of entry. Ask us for supporting documentation for your petition for international travel.

UK travellers are subject to the national restrictions beginning November 5th, which also includes an exception (point 11) for “hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health.” Please be sure to check the government page regularly in the days before travelling, as restrictions change frequently. You must present a negative PCR result in your legal name from a private laboratory–NHS results are not valid for travel.

Speak with Facialteam coordinators frequently in the days prior to travel for updates of our Travel Watch of 45 countries.

OCT 2020

Due to the epidemiological situation of the country at the moment, the Spanish government has announced the reinstatement of the “state of alarm,” with a series of additional restrictions.  Spain is also following the EU Commission’s recommendations to add Canada to the list of countries, with the USA, that will require a special permit for entry, only granted for very specific situations.
The good news is that this is reviewed on a monthly basis, so on November 30th and again in late December, these restrictions have the potential to be lifted. Speak with your coordinator regularly to keep informed of further updates
Here we summarize those changes most important for our patients.
      • A nationwide curfew from 11:00PM to 6:00AM
      • All social gatherings, in restaurants or homes, are limited to a maximum of 6 people.

The Junta de Andalucía, the regional agency responsible for the health measures that affect our activity, has announced a decree on October 30th with the following measures specific for the the region, including the province of Málaga:

        • Travel is generally prohibited outside Andalucía without express permissions.
        • Inter-provincial travel, except for work purposes, is also restricted. There is no problem moving within the towns of your province, with the exception of the select villages under quarantine.
        • Masks must now be worn even when dining or exercising in public spaces, except during moments when specifically eating/drinking.
Hence, we would like to confirm that Facialteam continues with its usual surgical activity, which it has maintained without interruption since June 23rd of this year, with a total of 108 operated patients to date–without a single incidence associated with COVID. Our strict COVID-Safe protocol has proven highly effective for both the safety of our patients and the staff. For example, all the patients are required to have 4 diagnostic tests:
    1. An antibody blood analysis in their country of origin, before travel
    2. Upon arrival in Marbella, before surgery, both a blood analysis and PCR.
    3. Before travel back home, a final blood test for antibodies.
In addition, our COVID monitoring system that was implemented shortly after reopening is helping numerous patients to organize their surgery and travel plans. 
This “Travel Watch” surveillance keeps us up to date on:
      • mobility restrictions between country borders
      • country status & quarantine requirements
      • the safest and most reasonable travel alternatives
      • estimated time-frames in which surgery may be carried out
In summary, Facialteam would like to transmit tranquility and confidence to our patients, now more than ever. We are learning to live with this new complex reality. Yet our experience over the last 4 months has shown that effective preventative measures help us maintain the safety and well-being that are so necessary at this time.
Thank you for continuing to trust Facialteam.

SEPT 2020

The Covid-Safe Protocol implemented in advance of reopening in June has accompanied the team  working at full capacity since September 1st. We have successfully received nearly a hundred surgical patients from 25 countries around the world over the last few months. Despite disruptive travel regulations, many have continued with their surgery and it is a pleasure to announce a 0% incidence of covid cases.  That’s a lot of tests and protective kits, but prevention has been key in keeping our visitors safe.

The coming months are also encouraging, as patients are given flexibility in cancellation and rescheduling policies.  Peace of mind to be able to reschedule, in the event of  extenuating circumstances, for no fee.  Also, more than 40 people have safely travelled to Marbella just for a consultation. Now with the “FT Travel Watch,” coordinators are better equipped to advise patients accurately on current travel policy from official sources.

We remain by your side, because your healthcare matters, everyday.

JULY 2020

Dear patients,

These last two months have not been easy. Spain has been able to contain the first wave, each day with fewer cases. However, the European Union has announced a series of restrictive measures on travel due to coronavirus. These limitations affect citizens of certain countries, such as the U.S.A, a country which Facialteam has sustained a significant connection with for many years. On the other hand, some countries are yet to open border so their citizens may travel abroad, as is the case in Australia.

We are acutely aware of the number of patients affected by this situation. For this reason, we have been taking great measures to obtain passage from the authorities for patients with programmed surgery and who have complied with the COVID testing in their place of origin.

Nevertheless, the response has not been positive, for which reason the entrance of these affected citizens in Spain may not be guaranteed. We trust that this restriction will be re-evaluated periodically and eventually eliminated in due course as the virus situation stabilizes in these and surrounding countries. In the meantime, and understanding the complexity involved, we are contacting each of our patients individually in order to discern alternatives for the relocation or modification of the surgical plan.

We live in highly complex times, yet now more than ever it is important to transmit a sense of calm and hope. Once the moment arrives, all our patients will be able to access surgery with the same quality guarantees as always.

Facialteam has reopened to activity and our staff remains by your side so that your surgical experience may become a reality as soon as possible. 

8 May 2020

Facialteam has now announced the reopening process will begin from June 15 when Spain plans to lift most restrictions.

Thank you for your comprehension and patience as we reinitiate our normal routine of consultations and surgery in Marbella with the maximum safety possible. For specifics on how to travel, consult our “COVID-Safe Protocol” which describes our policies for health and security for visitors this year.

8 April 2020

Due to the continued international crisis, closure of borders, restrictions on global travel as well as the extension of the state of alarm in Spain until the end of April, Facialteam announces the cessation of all surgical activity and consultations in Marbella is prolongued until the end of May.  All affected patients have been notified and are being supported on an individual and personalized basis.

Periodic updates will be made as the situation stabilizes. Our normal online services have been reinforced and other new digital services are planned to be implemented in the coming weeks.

Testimonial 01
Sending lots of love to the entire Facial Team family. Be safe. Be kind. (Canada)
Testimonial 02
After videoconsultation: These are difficult times, yet Miguel was wonderful: open, empathetic, engaging, professional. Please thank him, again, for his time with me.
Testimonial 03
Postoperative patient: I just want to say that my parents and I are thinking of you and all of the FacialTeam staff during this incredibly difficult time.
Testimonial 04
Postoperative patient: My heart goes out to all the people of your beautiful country as you prepare for the inevitable lockdowns.
Testimonial 05
Postoperative patient: I just want to say that my parents and I are thinking of you and all of the FacialTeam staff during this incredibly difficult time.
Testimonial 06
Hoping you and the team are keeping well - I miss you all! I’m safely back home. (Canada)
Testimonial 07
Sending you all my best, stay safe. Blowing you all hugs/besos (Of course, from a distance of 6 feet or more 😘 (USA)
Testimonial 08
Hope you and the kiddos are doing your best in this crazy situation. (Canada)
Testimonial 10
Just wanted to check in with you to make sure you're all okay. (Australia)
Testimonial 11
I'm hoping your team is staying safe in this crisis. Hope everyone is staying healthy! We all need you! ,🌺

18 March 2020 

National and international experts predict an estimated duration of 4 to 6 weeks to control the pandemic in our country. Therefore, as a preventative measure, Facialteam has decided to prolong the cessation of all surgical activity and consultations in Marbella for the next 8 weeks, until May 11th.

We wish to transmit calm as your health and safety is a priority. Our coordinators have contacted all our patients via email, offering to help with rescheduling as well as any bureaucratic steps required due to changes in flights and lodging. We ask for your patience and comprehension as we attend to every patient with maximum possible efficiency.

With warm regards, we remain by your side.

16 March 2020

Initial Announcement | COVID Advisory

Due to the worldwide circumstances and in accordance with the decree of Spanish national authorities, Facialteam has been forced to cancel all surgeries and non-essential personal consultations scheduled as of today, March 16th until April 13th, 2020.

Patients with surgical dates posterior to April 13th are unaffected at the moment.  However, in the unforeseeable event of further cancellations, notifications will made as far in advance as possible.  Keep in contact with our staff for updates, our coordinators remain at your service as always.

FT COVID Advisory for preparedness

Our COVID advisory is based upon the Royal Decree 463/2020 of the Spanish government, which requires a series of extraordinary measures such as the home confinement of all residents, visitors and citizens to contain the spread of the virus. It also places private hospital structures at the service of the State in the event that their use is necessary for the care of infected patients. These are important preventative measures which aim to protect everyone– especially the infrastructure of our response systems and healthcare force, which will be increasingly demanded in the coming weeks. 

Due to restriction on all face-to-face contact, our virtual patient services are being bolstered as well as increased access to video consultations. Other important online resources will be planned in the coming weeks, so we encourage you to stay informed of our updates via our newsletter or official social media platforms.

FT COVID Advisory aims to minimize the economical ramifications 

Although this decision is likely to cause mixed feelings, we trust that you understand the necessity given the complex world-wide crisis that affects everyone. Each patient has been personally contacted and we remain at your complete service to reschedule when there is absolute certainty that your safety and well-being are fully guaranteed. Also, to the greatest extent possible, we are working diligently to minimise the financial upheaval due to sudden changes in travel plans.

Expert advice on containment

It’s especially important to care for those who have the responsibility to care for or attend to others. Remember these steps to #stopcoronavirus

  • Wash your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub that kills viruses, before and after touching shared objects. #safehands
  • Maintain social distancing: Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone. Use gloves and masks as and when instructed by medical professionals. Home isolation is best.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and practice heightened respiratory hygiene: Cover your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze and sanitize afterwards.
  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early: Call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Stay informed with reliable sources

In summary, now it’s time to process the abundance of information related to the COVID Advisory.  You will have questions, so it’s advisable to send these enquiries directly to our team. Clarify everything and do not base decisions on word-of-mouth information from inexpert sources.

Facialteam is following the official recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Our center is located within an ISO certified medical facility,  subject to strict hospital regulations which continues to place our and any remaining patient’s health and safety as the main priority. Click to download a PDF about how the ISO certification in Healthcare protects consumers.

Optimism & Hope, the FT COVID Advisory

Facialteam’s directors wish to transmit optimism and hope. In difficult times it’s easy to lose perspective, but we must remember also the positive side that life offers us. Together we will overcome this crisis and hopefully in doing so, become stronger and more united for future generations. You may be sure that we will take this as an opportunity to improve all aspects, perfect our protocols and, when the time comes, welcome you to our center.

The primary message of our COVID Advisory is that we remain by your side.  

Communications & Human Resources

We believe it is important to explain exactly what we are doing as the situation around coronavirus continues to evolve. For this purpose, coordination and patient relations staff remain available during business hours as usual. All online communication platforms also remain fully operative meaning you should receive the same quality service as always.

Our employees are a valuable resource we wish to support during the quarantine period. To this end, we have offered all employees flexible work arrangements which accommodate personal circumstances, especially for those caring for minors or elders at home.

Sanitation & Hospital Protocols

The security of the few remaining patients and team members in Marbella remains a priority, which means respecting the highest standards of sterilization. For this reason, more rigorous protocols for sanitation have been implemented, in addition to the following:

  • Staff briefings and pandemic response teams for enhanced functional protocols and preparedness.
  • Augmented sterilizing and ventilation of public areas and work spaces 
  • Restriction of congresses, meetings and business travel during the government quarantine period. Adjustment of staff catering services in accordance with contamination prevention.
  • Deployment of precautions such as gloves, masks, hand sanitizing gel and disinfectant sprays for equipment.

Dr. Capitán’s message to the team

Finally, in conclusion, we share a message from Facialteam cofounder and codirector, Dr. Luis Capitán:

“Sometimes, we can only see difficulty, fear and shadows. It’s human nature, as we have lived a blessed, unpreoccupied life and now we are faced with such uncertainty and profound social changes. But we have the chance now to reflect on the beauty of the mundane, of the routine.  Take advantage of this moment to grow in ways that normally we have no time for. See the opportunity beyond the current darkness of the times. Although it seems a distant impossibility, the shining light, blue skies and hope will eventually return. We will again smile and move forward together, doing better and become more united. Despite everything, we will continue to walk ahead.”

Given the circumstances in the global community, we extend wishes that all our followers and their families remain safe and healthy.

#stayathome #workfromhome #covid19 #coronavirus

 

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