Corona restrictions: traveling is getting even more difficult

In order to curb the spread of mutated coronaviruses, travel is being further restricted: The USA is issuing quarantine requirements, France is tightening the testing requirement and a number of measures are being considered at the EU level.

There is great concern about the further spread of new coronavirus variants in the European Union. Traveling in Europe could therefore soon become even more arduous with the new Corona requirements. Further restrictions would be considered, reported EU Council leader Charles Michel after a joint video summit of EU heads of state and government. Accordingly, new test and quarantine obligations for people from “dark red zones” with very high numbers of corona cases are up for debate.

Compulsory PCR testing in France

France requires travelers from other EU countries to submit a negative Corona-PCR test from Sunday. These tests would then have to be done within 72 hours before departure, said the office of French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron informed his EU colleagues about the new regulation at the video summit. According to the information, the obligation to perform a PCR test applies to all trips to France that are not “essential”. Exceptions apply to commuters who work in France but do not live there.

So far, travelers from EU countries have had to show a negative test for the coronavirus to enter France. However, it did not necessarily have to be a PCR test.

Possible restrictions on tourist travel

The borders in the EU should initially remain open to secure the transport of important goods and the freedom to provide services in the EU internal market, said Council President Michel. “There should be no undifferentiated travel bans.” Nevertheless, further restrictions on non-essential travel may be necessary in order to slow the spread of the virus, said Michel. “When it comes to non-essential travel, restrictions must be possible.”

The heads of state and government see the situation as very serious because of the new, more contagious variants of the corona virus, said EU Council President Michel. They are fighting on two fronts: speed up vaccinations in Europe and contain the virus.

“We strongly advise against all non-essential travel, both within a country and across borders,” said EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. Your authority also wants to propose an expansion of the existing Corona traffic light card. Accordingly, a new dark red category is to be introduced for regions in which the corona virus is spreading very widely, said von der Leyen.

No green zones in Europe

So far, the EU disease control authority ECDC has divided the EU regions into green, orange and red zones. Because of the persistently high rates of infection almost everywhere, there have been no green and only very few orange spots on the map of Europe for weeks. Von der Leyen said that people who wanted to travel from the dark red zones in the future could be required to have a test before departure and quarantine after arrival.

In the foreseeable future, people who have been vaccinated cannot expect any relief when traveling. The 27 states want to work on a common vaccination certificate. However, the debate on possible related benefits was postponed.

Stricter rules for entering the USA

The USA are also tightening their entry regulations. In the future, travelers will have to go into quarantine after their arrival. “Anyone who flies to the US from another country will have to be tested before boarding the plane and have to go into quarantine when they arrive in the US,” announced the new US President Joe Biden. According to the decree, the measure will come into force on January 26th.

Americans will also have to wear masks when traveling on planes, buses and trains. Companies already have such an obligation, but a government decree has made it more difficult for mask refusers. Biden had previously prescribed the mandatory use of masks in government buildings. To make more vaccines, Biden also authorized the use of a Cold War law – the Defense Production Act – that could direct private companies to manufacture necessary goods.

Tagesschau24 reported on this topic on January 22, 2021 at 11:00 a.m.


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