France and Germany are now open, they both became the latest European countries to reopen their borders as we emerge from the pandemic lock-down.
France’s president, Emmanuel Macron, announced on Sunday that the country’s Schengen borders would be open from Monday and its non-EU borders from 1 July.
Germany also opened its borders to fellow European travellers, but the government – which helped fly 240,000 people home as the pandemic grew exponentially – warned people to be careful as they planned their summer holidays.
On Sunday, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced the country would reopen its borders to visitors from the EU and the Schengen area from Sunday 21 June.
At the request of the Portuguese government, the land border with Spain will not open until 1 July, when Spain will open its border to travellers from other countries.
Italy – one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic – reopened its borders on 3 June, but others are adopting a more targeted approach.
Greece’s two main airports – in Athens and Thessaloniki – reopened to arrivals on Monday and the country plans to reopen its borders to the majority of European tourists, as well as those from certain other parts of the world, including Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Switzerland, a non-EU member, opened its borders to all 27 countries, plus the UK, Norway and Liechenstein, but said arrivals from Sweden will have to take a temperature test due to its high rate of new infections.
Norway is keeping its border closed with Sweden, whose virus strategy avoided a lock-down but produced a relatively high per capita death rate.
On Tuesday, Austria – which has already opened its borders to most of its neighbours – will drop travel restrictions on a total of 31 countries, but has excluded Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
The Czech Republic is also allowing free travel with several European countries from Monday, but restrictions are still in place with those deemed a risk due to their levels of coronavirus infections.
Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia have also already begun to lift restrictions for foreigners entering their countries but excluded those from nations they deem as not safe – in many cases that list includes Sweden and the UK.
Britain, which left the EU in January but remains closely aligned with the bloc until the end of this year, only last week imposed a 14-day quarantine requirement for most arrivals, horrifying its tourism and aviation industries.
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