The 27 European Union Member States have celebrated the New Year lighting the sky with fireworks, just like other countries all around the globe.
“For a new year of hope and solidarity. Happy New Year!” the European Commission wrote on Twitter, inviting its followers to say the same in their own language.
Yet, the new year has not brought any hope for travellers who for almost two years now continuously face travel hurdles in their trips, which many times make it impossible to travel from one place to another, in particular for leisure purposes, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
On the last week of 2021, the EU Member States announced the travel restrictions that would apply in the first week of the new year, keeping in place the same old rules, or imposing even harsher ones.
On December 31, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that Sweden has started imposing stricter travel restrictions on all incoming travellers, including those from Denmark, Finland, and Norway, by making pre-entry testing mandatory, even for those vaccinated against COVID-19.
On the other hand, the Czech Republic has placed Italy, Sweden, Malta, Austria, Latvia, Hungary, and the Azores on the list of dark red countries, travellers from which are subject to the strictest entry restrictions when entering Czechia.
Starting from January 3, Monday, travellers from these countries will have to fill in the arrival form before travelling to the Czech Republic. They also need to test for COVID-19 pre-departure unless if they are travelling by private transport. All travellers from the dark red list are obliged to undergo a PCR test no earlier than the fifth day and no later than the seventh day after entering the country.
Strict travel restrictions remain effective in France too even for 2022. Though the country has reversed a ban on British travellers transiting the French territory in their way to their destination country, UK travellers still remain banned from staying in the country, due to the high number of Omicron cases that the UK has detected in its territory.
At the same time, the obligation to test for COVID-19 before a trip to France for all vaccinated and recovered persons travelling from third-countries remains effective even in 2022.
Germany will continue to impose stricter entry rules on travellers coming from countries categorized as high-risk areas. In fact, its disease prevention and control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, on Thursday has expanded Germany’s list of high-risk areas, by adding to it Italy, Canada, Malta, and San Marino.
The country is, however, set to facilitate travel rules for those coming from the virus variant areas by placing them in the list of high-risk areas. This means that starting from January 4, travellers from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland can enter Germany for non-essential purposes, though under tight entry restrictions.
When it comes to changes, Iceland has shortened entry quarantine to seven days. Previously, entry quarantine in this country was ten days, but the Icelandic epidemiologist decided to shorten it after the United States’ Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they would shorten the quarantine period to five days for US citizens.
Other EU and Schengen Area countries continue to keep the same restrictions in place. For example, Norway’s entry rules are set to remain unchanged until the end of next week. At the same time, Lithuania has also kept its entry restrictions unchanged.
Even the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has advised travellers to refrain from taking any non-essential trips throughout Europe, given the grave COVID-19 situation throughout the bloc.