What's the situation with Covid-19 and travel restrictions in other EU countries?

Several countries have already begun issuing the EU Digital Travel Certificates, which will become available in all member States on July 1
What's the situation with Covid-19 and travel restrictions in other EU countries?

Lisbon has seen a rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases recently. File Picture: AP Photo/Armando Franca

Portugal reopened its borders to EU and UK tourists just one month ago.

However, a spike in Covid-19 cases in Lisbon this past weekend has seen the capital reintroduce some lockdown restrictions.

Last month, the European Parliament and member states reached an agreement in principle to introduce a Covid-19 certificate to facilitate safe summer travel across the bloc

Several countries have already begun issuing the EU Digital Travel Certificates, which will become available in all member States on July 1.

Here’s where several European countries currently stand in relation to the restrictions and the virus:

Portugal 

Portugal, one of Europe’s top tourist destinations, reopened to travellers on May 17.

Upon arrival, all passengers over the age 20 must produce a negative Covid-19 test result - either PCR or rapid antigen - and are subject to health screening at airports. 

Public health measures such as the wearing of facemasks, social distancing and hand hygiene remain in place for all public settings in Portugal.

Event spaces and restaurants must close at 10.30pm.

In Lisbon, amid a rise in Covid-19 cases in recent days, other measures have been introduced. Those living in the city are now not permitted to leave it between 3pm on Fridays and 6am on Mondays.

Before the Lisbon outbreaks, Portugal had had one of the lowest virus incidence rates in the EU.

1,233 new cases were confirmed in Portugal on Thursday, most of which were located in the capital.

Spain 

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the obligatory wearing of facemasks in outdoor public spaces will end at the end of this month. File Picture: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Pool via AP
Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the obligatory wearing of facemasks in outdoor public spaces will end at the end of this month. File Picture: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Pool via AP

Spain, together with other countries heavily dependant on the tourism industry like Portugal, Italy and Greece, pushed hard for the introduction of the EU Travel Certificates and has already begun issuing them.

As such, the country has reopened to tourists who are vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip, or who can produce a negative Covid-19 test result or proof they overcame the virus in the past six months.

Covid-19 infections in Spain are now at their lowest point since August 2020, and around 3.5m vaccines were administered in the country last week.

France 

On Sunday, France will lift a Covid-19 curfew that has been in place since late last year.

Like Spain, France has been operating with a strict mask-wearing policy, even for people outdoors.

This is set to be eased somewhat from early next week, though it is likely to remain in place on public transport and in crowded areas where social distancing can't be ensured.

People crossing the Champs-Élysées in Paris, On Thursday. On Wednesday, France eased several Covid restrictions. File Picture: AP Photo/Michel Euler
People crossing the Champs-Élysées in Paris, On Thursday. On Wednesday, France eased several Covid restrictions. File Picture: AP Photo/Michel Euler

The French government has announced that it will be updating its travel policies in line with the EU Digital Covid Certificate from June 22, meaning people will be able to enter the county with proof of vaccination, a negative test result, or proof of recovery from the virus.

Covid-19 cases in France have been falling significantly since mid-April with 2,786 new cases reported on Thursday.

Belgium 

Belgium has already launched the Digital Covid passport.

The country had begun to roll back many restrictions from early June. Cafes and restaurants in Belgium are now allowing indoor dining for up to four customers per table.

493 new cases were confirmed in Belgium on Thursday, down from a high of 9,065 in late March.

Germany 

Germany has been experiencing a decrease in confirmed Covid-19 cases as of late. 

On Thursday, for just the second time since last September, fewer than 1,000 cases were reported.

Nationally, the infection rate is just below 50 per 100,000 population per week. 

Around 51% of Germany’s population has been given at least one jab, and the country is now administering more than 800,000 vaccines each day.

Berlin, which had seen the majority of the country’s confirmed cases in recent weeks, has lifted many longstanding restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Germany has already begun issuing Digital Covid Certificates in advance of the EU’s adoption of the plan from July 1, with more than one million given out so far.

Italy 

Restrictions in Italy have varied from region to region throughout the pandemic

Italian regions are classified as either 'white', 'yellow', 'orange' or 'red', depending on the spread of Covid-19 in each. 

No regions are in the red or orange categories.

Tourists walking near St Mark's Campanile in Venice, Italy on Thursday. File Picture: PA
Tourists walking near St Mark's Campanile in Venice, Italy on Thursday. File Picture: PA

However, the regions of Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Marche, Bolzano, Sicily, Tuscany, Aosta Valley are all in the ‘yellow’ zone, with curfews in place from midnight until 5am and travel outside regions only allowed in certain cases.

The country’s other regions are all ‘white’ zones where the only real public health measures in place are social distancing and the wearing of masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces.

Italy, one of the countries that lobbied hardest for the EU Digital Covid Certificate, has already begun issuing the passes.

Greece

Greece, another nation dependant on the tourism industry, has also already begun issuing Covid certificates.

The country reopened to tourists in May.

Cafes, bars and restaurants are open, though all must be shut by 12.30am.

Visitors wearing facemasks walk atop of the Acropolis hill, with the Parthenon temple in the background in Athens. File Picture: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis
Visitors wearing facemasks walk atop of the Acropolis hill, with the Parthenon temple in the background in Athens. File Picture: AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis

Beaches and tourist sites are also fully open and accessible, though anyone present must practice social distancing.

The Greek government has plans to declare 80 of its islands - where most of its main holiday hotspots are located - safe by the end of June. 

Some 546 new cases of the virus were confirmed in Greece on Thursday - down from a high of over 4,000 in early April.

The Netherlands 

Foreign tourists arriving from countries with a low rate of Covid-19 can currently enter the Netherlands.

On Friday, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a further relaxation of restrictions in the country beginning on June 26.

He said the easing was now possible thanks to the success of the country’s vaccine rollout.

Poland

The Polish Government has also started issuing travel passes to passengers who can prove they have had a vaccine or have recovered from the coronavirus. 

Other arrivals must provide a negative PCR or rapid antigen test result within 48 hours of their arrival.

On June 26, cultural institutions, restaurants and entertainment fairs, public transport, sporting facilities, dance clubs and gyms across Poland are set to reopen with different limitations or at full capacity.

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