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07 Jan 2021 | 08:33 AM UTC

European Union: European Council maintains COVID-19-related recommendations for non-EU travel Jan. 7 /update 9

European Council maintains recommendations for COVID-19 travel restrictions with non-EU countries as of Jan. 7.

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Event

The European Council is maintaining its advice for European Union (EU) member states to restrict nonessential travel from outside the bloc as part of measures to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). However, the European Council also maintains a list of countries with which it recommends member states relax entry restrictions due to positive data regarding the COVID-19 situation in those countries. As of Jan, 7, the following countries are on this list:

  • Australia

  • Japan

  • New Zealand

  • Rwanda

  • Singapore

  • South Korea

  • Thailand

  • China (provided they implement a reciprocal travel arrangement)

Countries participating in the measure comprise the so-called "EU+ Area," which includes all EU Schengen Area member states; non-Schengen EU members Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Romania; and the four non-EU Schengen-associated states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The European Council's recommendation is advisory only; individual member states retain the authority to unilaterally deny travel from countries on the approved list or to permit travel with countries not on the approved list.

Additionally, the European Council issued advice Dec. 22 for member states to discourage all nonessential travel with the UK following the outbreak of a new variant of COVID-19 in that country. As a result, many countries have implemented tougher restrictions on travel with the UK including flight bans or testing and quarantine requirements for individuals arriving from the UK.

Moreover, following the end of the Brexit transition period Dec. 31 citizens of the UK are no longer being treated as EU citizens and are therefore subject to measures restricting travel to the EU from outside the bloc as per European Council recommendations. Persons exempted from the recommendations include family members of EU nationals, diplomats, foreigners with legal residency permits, cross-border and healthcare workers, and truck drivers transporting freight.

Advice

Prospective travelers from countries on the approved list should check for possible additional restrictions imposed by the destination country prior to booking travel. Persons from countries not on the approved list should postpone travel to the countries participating in the closure. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent COVID-19, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources

European Union

Schengen Area countries

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