Amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases in parts of Europe, and the detection of the new Omicron variant in UK, several curbs have been announced in European countries. Belgium, Germany, Italy and Netherlands, have also detected Omicron cases.
On December 3, Europe crossed 75 million Coronavirus cases as per a Reuters report.
On one hand Austria has announced a lockdown, others like the Czech Republic and Slovakia, have declared a partial lockdown and those like Portugal have tightened restrictions for the unvaccinated and public gatherings.
If you are looking to travel to Europe, here are the details of the new regulations.
Which countries in Europe are under lockdown?
Austria announced a 10-day lockdown, which was further extended through December 11. Theatres, bars, museums, restaurants, and all non-essential shops remain shut. Takeaway meals from restaurants are allowed.
Slovakia, Czech Republic and Netherlands, have declared partial lockdowns. Restaurants and non-essential stores remain shut in Slovakia. People are only allowed to travel to work, for healthcare, and shopping. Taking walks is allowed, too.
Czech Republic has declared a 30-day state emergency. Bars and clubs are open till 7 pm only and public events are restricted to 1,000 people. Schools and workplaces continue to function.
Are travellers permitted in Europe?
The short answer is yes. You need to be vaccinated and carry a negative RT-PCR report. You will also need to comply with the restrictions imposed locally in each of these countries.
Is it a good idea to travel to these countries?
Perhaps not. All three countries (Slovakia, Czech Republic and Netherlands) have seen a steep rise in cases and the healthcare system remains overburdened.
Austria has among the lowest vaccination rates in Europe with only 65 percent of the population fully vaccinated.
Which other countries have imposed restrictions?
The UK has made on-arrival (within 48 hours) RT-PCR tests mandatory for all foreign travellers. Face coverings in public spaces have also returned. The country is also likely to include all adults in a booster jab plan slated for January end.
Portugal has made face coverings mandatory and vaccination certificates are required to access restaurants, malls, and bars.
Germany has called for a lockdown of the unvaccinated where all except essential services like healthcare and supermarket remain inaccessible for those who haven't got their jabs. This applies to travellers, too.
Nightclubs in Belgium have been shut as have private meetings besides weddings and funerals.
All non-essential shops and amateur sports remain shut in the Netherlands between 5 pm and 5 am. Cultural events require social distancing.
In France, starting January 15, adults will need a booster jab at least seven months after their last dose.
You need a vaccination certificate to access restaurants in Italy. The southern province of Tyrol has an 8 pm curfew.
In Sweden, public events with over a 100 people are only accessed through a health pass. A health pass is issued to those who are fully vaccinated or have tested negative in the last 72 hours.
A health pass is required to access public events and spaces, in Switzerland.
In Croatia, the government plans to introduce mandatory health passes for public and private employees.
Denmark has announced COVID-19 vaccine booster jabs and made a health pass mandatory to enter indoor restaurants and cafes.
Are these rules likely to change?
With the up-tick in cases, rules in European countries are changing by the day. It is advisable to check the local regulations of the country you are travelling to.
Which countries have travel bans and for whom?
The UK has placed Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, on its Red List. Only UK residents from these countries are allowed to travel.
Denmark has banned travel to and from the South African region. Hungary has banned entry from Omicron-affected areas.
Slovenia has introduced quarantine measures from them.
France, Lithuania and Czech Republic have banned entry from seven South African nations.
Poland, Malta and Iceland have also placed restrictions on movement from South African countries.
Germany has a lockdown for the unvaccinated.
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