Tuesday, 17 March 2020

European Union to close external borders.

The Coronavirus COVID-19 crisis has caused The European Union to put on a total ban of all non-EU nationals from visiting the EU, except for long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods.

This effectively closes the external borders of the EU and comes on top of the various national entry bans that some countries in Europe have instigated in recent days. This unprecedented ban on non-EU citizens coming into the EU is set to last for an initial 30 days,  but could be extended if the current crisis continues. 

All of the 26 countries that are part of Schengen Zone will impose the ban but non-Schengen EU member states are expected to follow.  The EU will ask the Republic of Ireland and the UK to join the measure as well.

Earlier in the day, the UK's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a change of advice from The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) - it now advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. This advice takes effect immediately and applies initially for a period of 30 days.

It says,  "The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice. "   More details on the FCO site

Raab announced that British people currently overseas didn't immediately return to the UK - except for those in a few high-risk areas which are detailed on the FCO site.  However, travellers should keep in mind that flights could be cancelled at short notice as foreign countries grapple with restrictions being imposed by their own authorities. He also said people should be "realistic about the level of disruption they are willing and able to endure" if they do travel overseas.

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