European Union introduces 30-day restriction on all-non essential travel

epa08298302 European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen gives as press conference after a conference call of G7 leaders on Coronavirus, COVID-19, at the European Council, Brussels, Belgium, 16 March 2020. Von Der Leyen proposed temporary restriction on non-essential travels to the European Union for 30 days to prevent spreading coronavirus COVID-19. EPA-EFE/STEPHANIE LECOCQ

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The European Union has introduced a 30-day restriction on all non-essential travel to the bloc in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

The European Union’s executive on Monday proposed a 30-day ban on incoming travel for foreigners to the bloc to battle the spread of coronavirus.

“The less travel, the more we can contain the virus. Therefore … I propose to the heads of state and government to introduce temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. “These travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, but can be prolonged as necessary.”

She said exemptions included long-term EU residents, family members of EU nationals, diplomats, doctors and researchers working on containing the health crisis.

In a statement, the Commission presented guidelines to Member States on health-related border management measures in the context of the COVID-19 emergency. The aim is to protect citizens’ health, ensure the right treatment of people who do have to travel, and make sure essential goods and services remain available.

Commissioners Kyriakides and Johansson have presented the guidelines to EU Ministers of Health and of Home Affairs at their first joint video meeting starting at 11am this morning.

President von der Leyen said: “Our measures to contain the Coronavirus outbreak will be effective only if we coordinate on the European level. We have to take exceptional measures to protect the health of our citizens. But let’s make sure goods and essential services continue to flow in our internal market. This is the only way to prevent shortages of medical equipment or food. It’s not only an economic issue: our single market is a key instrument of European solidarity. I am in discussion with all Member States so that we confront this challenge together, as a Union.” 

The guidelines set out principles for an integrated approach to an effective border management to protect health while preserving the integrity of the internal market. People identified as at risk of spreading COVID-19 should have access to appropriate health care, either in the country of arrival or in the country of departure, and this should be coordinated between the two.

Free circulation of goods is also crucial to maintain availability of goods. This is particularly crucial for essential goods such as food supplies including livestock, vital medical and protective equipment and supplies. More generally, control measures should not cause serious disruption of supply chains, essential services of general interest and of national economies and the EU economy as a whole.

Free circulation of goods is crucial to maintain availability of goods. This is particularly crucial for essential goods such as food supplies including livestock, vital medical and protective equipment and supplies. More generally, control measures should not cause serious disruption of supply chains, essential services of general interest and of national economies and the EU economy as a whole. Member States should designate priority lanes for freight transport (e.g. via ‘green lanes’).

In the same vein, safe movement for transport workers, including truck and train drivers, pilots and aircrew is a key factor to ensure adequate movement of goods and essential staff.

No additional certifications should be imposed on goods legally circulating within the EU single market. According to the European Food Safety Authority, there is no evidence that food is a source or a transmission source of COVID-19.

European Commission Statement 

%d bloggers like this: