Coronavirus: Which European countries eased travel restrictions?

Some European countries are starting to relax travel restrictions as the number of new COVID-19 infections falls.

Many European countries have started easing coronavirus-related travel restrictions, with June 15 seeing several of them open up to visitors from certain countries in an effort to boost tourism and return to normalcy.

Each country is following its own timetable. Here are the details of the current travel policies: 

Albania reopened its land borders on June 1, but the country still bans mass gatherings until June 23. The government also opened beaches serving hotels in June.

Armenia imposed a state emergency on March 16. Its borders are closed for foreigners arriving from Russia or Georgia as well as from countries with “a tense epidemic situation”. 

Austria reopened its borders on June 16 and lifted a quarantine requirement for incoming travellers from within the EU, excluding the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain and Portugal. The country lifted border restrictions last week for all of its neighbouring countries except Italy.

Belarus does not have travel restrictions in place. However, there is a mandatory 14-day-self-quarantine requirement for people entering from countries where the virus is actively circulating. (same as Armenia). 

Belgium opened its borders to and from European countries on June 15, including the UK and the Schengen Zone countries Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland and Norway.

Bosnia has reopened borders with neighbouring Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia since June 1 and lifted restrictions on commercial flights. 

Bulgaria allows most European travellers to enter freely, but citizens of countries heavily hit by the pandemic, including the UK, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Sweden and Belgium, must spend 14 days in quarantine.

Croatia has opened its borders to citizens of Germany and nine other, mostly Eastern European, EU states. Other EU nationals need to prove a valid reason to enter, such as a tourist booking confirmation. Unlike other nations, Croatia, is not requiring a negative COVID-19 test.

Cyprus will allow visitors from countries considered to have dealt with “the pandemic successfully”, which it divided into two lists. Travellers from the 19 countries in List A face no restrictions, while those coming from countries in List B must provide a health certificate. The UK and Russia remain barred for now.

The Czech Republic opened its borders to citizens from more than 20 European countries from June 15. But visitors from the UK, France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands will be required to take a test or stay in quarantine.

Denmark on June 15 started to allow travellers from Germany, Norway and Iceland to enter. Citizens from other European countries will be allowed to enter from June 27, except Sweden and Portugal. EU and Schengen countries, including the UK, will be individually assessed. A country will be classified as open if it has less than 20 infected per 100,000 inhabitants per week. 

Estonia reopened borders on June 1 to visitors from within Europe, but those arriving from countries with high infection rates face quarantine

Slovakia allowed people travelling to and from another 16 European countries from June 10. The border opened a week earlier for the visitors from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria. All new arrivals must go into quarantine for 14 days.

Finland opened its border on June 15 to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It also allowed recreational boats from Schengen countries. Visitors from other countries might be allowed in after July 14.

France opened its borders to the European Union and Schengen countries on June 15, excluding Spain until June 21. However, a voluntary quarantine will be required from the travellers from countries that imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine “in an uncoordinated way.”

On July 1, France reopened its borders to 15 non-EU member states. 

Germany on June 15 stopped its land border checks and removed travel warnings for its citizens for 29 European countries. Its travel restrictions for visitors from outside the EU remains in place until at least August 31.

Georgia reopened domestic tourism on June 15 and will allow the arrival of foreign tourists from July 1. 

Greece opened its borders on June 15, and on July 1, it reopened its regional airports to international flights.

Visitors from some countries, including France, Belgium and Italy, will have to be tested on arrival and go into quarantine, while others will be subject to random tests and no further restrictions.

Hungary has its borders open with Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia. It is expected to lift a state of emergency on June 20. 

Iceland lifted its travel restrictions for passengers from the EU and the Schengen Zone on June 15, but arrivals have to either get tested for COVID-19 or stay in self-quarantine.

Ireland is to lift all domestic travel restrictions on June 29. From July 20, theatres, cinemas and nightclubs will be allowed to resume operations. On June 18, the government will review a 14-day quarantine requirement for international arrivals as the country seeks to reopen borders in the coming months.

Italy opened its borders on June 3 to visitors from the EU, UK, and Schengen area. Tourists from the rest of the world have to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Kosovo is expected to open all land borders from June 22. Currently, there are no quarantine requirements in place. However, there are medical teams at crossing points monitoring visitors.

Latvia opened its borders to its Baltic neighbours Estonia and Lithuania on May 15 to create a “Baltic Bubble”. Since June 1, there have been no border checks with Lithuania. Latvia’s borders, similar to those of other Baltic states, are open to visitors from the EU and European Economic Area countries. However, all passengers will have to self-quarantine unless their country of origin has had fewer than 15 per 100,000 inhabitants infected in the past 14 days

Lithuania allows visitors coming from EU and European Economic Area countries where the infection rate is less than 25 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days

Liechtenstein lifted entry restrictions on all EU and Schengen Zone countries on June 15. 

Luxembourg opened its border with Germany on May 15.

Malta opened its borders on July 1 to visitors from several EU and Schengen Area member states, as well as from Sicily and Israel. Tourists will not need to enter self-quarantine if they meet the entry requirements.

Moldova has restricted the entry of foreigners until June 30; it also requires a 14-day home-stay quarantine for new arrivals. 

Montenegro allows entry without quarantine, as long as travellers are coming from a country with less than 25 active COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. The government keeps a list of countries that are considered safe to accept travellers from. 

The Netherlands has extended a ban on non-essential travel from outside the EU to July 1. Citizens of the EU, UK, Norway and Switzerland can visit the Netherlands. People must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Norway opened its border with Denmark and Finland on June 15. By July 20, entry from other nearby European countries may be considered.

Poland on June 13 reopened its borders to visitors from the EU without requiring quarantine. Some domestic flights are operating, and international flights are expected to resume on July 16.

Portugal opened its borders to international visitors on July 1. Travellers will have to present negative COVID-19 test results from within 72 hours prior to travel, or be tested on arrival.

Romania on June 1 eased international travel restrictions. Visitors, including those arriving from the EU, Switzerland and the UK are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Russia bans the entry of foreign nationals, except diplomats, aeroplane crew members, residents or transit passengers. 

Serbia on May 22 opened its borders to all foreigners without the need to self-quarantine or to undergo a medical test.

Slovakia on June 10 opened its borders to visitors coming from Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Malta, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland. Arrivals from Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary had been allowed earlier.

Slovenia opened its borders to tourists coming from the EU, Schengen Area countries and the UK. Visitors from these countries will not need to self-quarantine upon arrival. Masks are mandatory in public. 

Restaurants and bars can operate their patios, and some hotels have opened. Transportation remains somewhat limited. 

Spain reopened its border to the EU and Schengen area on June 21, Portugal was the exception, but the two borders reopened on July 1. 

Sweden has opened its borders to visitors from EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. From June 30, Sweden is also expected to lift its advice against non-essential travel to 10 European countries, including Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, Iceland, Italy,  Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and Switzerland.

The borders remain closed to non-EU citizens. 

Switzerland on June 15 lifted its entry restrictions on all EU countries, as well as the UK, Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland.

The United Kingdom since June 8 requires all arrivals, including its own nationals, to self-quarantine for 14 days as well as provide journey and contact details. Only people coming from Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands are exempt

Ukraine resumed international air travel on June 15 in its 15 airports. Ukraine International Airlines are expected to carry out temperature screenings before boarding and disinfect planes between flights.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies