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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020
Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

European Union to keep external borders closed for 30 more days

The European Commission issued a statement today, saying that the COVID-19 situation “remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide”. 

The Commission called for “continued measures” to minimize the coronavirus spread and eventually stop the pandemic, and recommended to 30-day extension of the current EU travel ban.

The European Union will likely keep its external borders closed until June 15 and, according to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson. She added that after June 15, lifting of the travel constrains should be implemented in a “phased and coordinated” way in order to prevent a second wave of epidemic.

EU member states closed their borders to travelers from outside the bloc in March, in a bid to curb the rapidly spreading COVID-19. At the same time, some countries also quickly moved to close their internal borders to travelers, even those from fellow-member states – a move which was frowned-upon in Brussels.

The ban on travel does not affect the UK since it is still in its Brexit transition phase and is still treated in many ways as an EU member. Healthcare workers and other workers, including those transporting cargo, are also exempt from the restrictions.

While the Commission statement came on Friday, France had already announced on Thursday that it would keep its own borders shut to non-essential travelers until“at least June 15th.”

As of May 8, there were more than 1.5 million cases of coronavirus infection reported across Europe, with Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany among the worst-hit countries.