More Countries Add Travel Restrictions to Combat New Coronavirus Variants

Brussels as seen from the Mont des Arts

By Paul Riegler on 25 January 2021
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Prospects for fewer restrictions on global travel diminished greatly as more reports of new variants of the coronavirus surfaced and President Joseph Biden of the United States banned non-U.S. citizens traveling from Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Schengen Area, and South Africa from entering the country.

The Belgian government banned non-essential travel in and out of the country through March 1 to stem the spread of the virus. The action applies to land, sea, and air travel.

“We are not going to build a wall around Belgium,” said Prime Minister Alexander De Cross at a news conference. “We can go to other countries but only for essential reasons.”

France now requires those who arrive in the country from another European nation to show a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken at most 72 hours before travel, the Foreign Affairs Ministry said. Officials there also require travelers older than 11 years of age who enter France via air or sea routes, from the European Union, Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Vatican City, and Switzerland to commit to a seven-day isolation period after arrival and to commit to taking a second PCR test at the end of the isolation period.

Travelers must also affirm that they do not have any Covid-19 symptoms, and that they did not come into contact with anyone who tested positive for Covid-19 in the 14 days prior to arriving in France.

Earlier in January, the United Kingdom temporarily closed the so-called travel corridors it has established with several countries. The corridors were introduced in the summer to allow people traveling from certain countries with a low number of coronavirus cases to travel to Britain without having to quarantine upon arrival.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the change was made in order to prevent new variants of the virus reaching the country.

“It is vital to take these extra measures now when day by day, hour by hour, we are making such strides in protecting the population,” Johnson told reporters at a Downing Street press conference.

The coronavirus pandemic-infused downturn in travel has left the travel industry reeling.

United Airlines, the world’s fourth largest airline by revenue, posted a $7.1 billion loss for calendar year 2020, while Delta, the second largest, posted a $12.1 billion loss for the same period.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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