Coronavirus, Visit

EU to Ban Entry to 26 Schengen Area Countries Amid Coronavirus Scare

What started as a disease from the city of Wuhan in China rapidly turned into a global pandemic within a span of just few months forcing countries across the world to take emergency measures. Taking cues from the centre of the pandemic, Wuhan, which first implemented the idea of total lockdown, various other nations shutdown borders and encouraged self-isolation in a bid to contain the deadly virus. 

Joining the list of Italy, Iran, Philippines, Sri Lanka and others, the European enforced temporary travel restrictions to all EU states and at least 26-state Schengen passport-free travel zones. The ban would cover all non-essential visits from third countries. The ban which is for a period of 30 days will not cause any problem to people planning to go home or cross-border workers.

What’s the proposal

The idea, which was discussed by all European countries on March 16, was announced by the President of the EU Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

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. These travel restrictions should be in place for an initial period of 30 days, but can be prolonged as necessary,” she said in a statement. 

The President of the EU Commission later took to Twitter to elaborate the proposal which came into effect shortly. In her tweet, Ursula mentioned that the EU Commission has proposed Green lanes/fast lanes giving priority to essential transport to keep the mobility sector going and to ensure economic continuity. 

Earlier, several EU and Schengen Area Member Countries started introducing border checks on their own, banning entry of all travellers that were not their passport holders, including Germany and Estonia.

How will the ban affect travellers?

The ban will restrict all non-essential travel to the Schengen areas. Furthermore,  non-Schengen countries of Ireland, Cyprus, Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria might also be invited to implement similar restrictions.

A World in the grip of COVID-19 fear

Meanwhile, Coronavirus, scientifically termed as COVID-19, has claimed more than 65,000 lives across the world. The number of confirmed cases stand at more than 12,00,000 as of 5th April 2020. While China, the first country to battle the novel virus, is gradually returning to normalcy after a decline in new cases, Italy, Spain, US and the UK are bearing the brunt of the pandemic the most at present. 

With more than 120,000 confirmed cases and more than 15,000 fatalities, Italy is currently the worst affected country followed by Spain with more than 130,000 cases and 12,000 deaths. As the virus spreads through human-to-human transmissions, governments and health officials have been urging people to self-isolate themselves and avoid social interactions in a bid to contain further spread of the novel coronavirus. 

(Curated by Priya Pareek)