The coronavirus pandemic has moved at varying speeds across the globe. As borders closed in locations across the world, other countries in new regions are only just beginning to be affected. Much of the world’s borders are now closed as the virus reaches its peak.
However, signs of slow recovery in some European countries, including the worst hit, are becoming evident with decisions and timelines announced to reopen their borders.
At least 18 of the Schengen zone’s 26 nations currently have various travel restrictions in place, but from next month onwards, many of these restrictions will begin to relax to allow trade and tourism and a revival of the economy.
Since internal and external borders of the EU were closed in March the economic effects have been devastating for all counties in the union.
EU has finally announced that the opening of borders is imperative to a return to normalcy.
This week, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson stated, in regards to the slow reopening of borders:
“Restrictions on free movement and internal border controls will need to be lifted gradually before we can remove restrictions at the external borders and guarantee access to the EU for non-EU residents for non-essential travel.”
Countries began announcing schedules for border openings after this statement including the creation of travel bubbles with neighbouring countries with limited COVID-19 cases for example, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.
Border announcements include:
Austria: Borders to open on 15 June for neighboring countries
Belgium: Reopen to international tourists by 15 June
Czech Republic: Borders with Austria and Germany to open by 15 June
Denmark: Copenhagen and Billund airports are open. A firm decision by 1 June
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: ‘Travel bubble’
France: Borders with Switzerland and Germany to open by 15 June
Germany: Travel between Switzerland, France, and Austria, from 15 June
Greece: Open to all internationals starting 15 June, flights to resume July onwards.
Hungary: Travel to and from Austria starting 15 June
Iceland: 15 June onwards, a health certificate will be required on entry.
Ireland, Sweden: Arrivals from the UK.
Italy: Borders are due to reopen to tourists on 3 June
Netherlands: Borders are open for tourists from Schengen countries
Spain: Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced that Spain would be open to international tourists from 1 July
Switzerland: Travel between Switzerland, France, and Austria, from 15 June
Domestic travel has also began to reopen in India as a travel ban is lift on domestic flights.
Whilst Europe and domestic travel in some regions are looking to reopen, Colombia is now the latest country to announce a ban on international travel as Brazil becomes the next epicentre of the virus. Under a health emergency declaration, Colombia extended its border closures through to 31 August. While the country has had reasonable success at keeping COVID-19 infection rates down, international flights will remain grounded until the health emergency declaration lapses at the end of August.