Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: European countries continue to enforce travel restrictions, conduct enhanced screenings as of March 13 due to COVID-19.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Albania
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Greece
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Ukraine
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • Azerbaijan
  • London, England
  • Ireland
  • Paris
  • Berlin

This alert began 13 Mar 2020 23:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions and health screenings
  • Location(s): Europe (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of March 13
  • Impact: Flight and border crossing disruptions, increased absenteeism; possible longer immigration wait times, quarantine measures, short-term goods shortages

Summary
Governments in Europe are maintaining travel and other restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Although specific measures vary by country, the following procedures were in effect as of March 13:

  • Albania: Educational establishments nationwide closed for 14 days March 9. Flights and ferry services to northern Italy have been suspended. Travelers arriving from Italy are advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
  • Armenia: Authorities have suspended visa-free travel for Chinese nationals. All land borders with Iran have been closed until March 24. Scheduled flights to and from Iran have been suspended, with the exception of those allowing Armenian and Iranian citizens to return to their home countries. Enhanced health screenings are underway at all points of entry.
  • Austria: Flights from China, Iran, South Korea, Italy, Switzerland, France, and Spain have been suspended indefinitely. Border controls will be introduced on the Swiss and Liechtenstein borders; the Vorarlberg crossing with Germany will remain open. Authorities have temporarily barred entry to persons traveling from Italy; the measure will not apply to travelers in possession of a health certificate declaring them to be free of the virus; non-stop transit through Austria is unaffected. Restaurants and bars will close daily at 1500 from March 16.
  • Azerbaijan: All flights between Baku and Tehran have been suspended, and flights to mainland China could face disruptions. Enhanced health screening is in operation at ports of entry. Authorities have suspended visa-free travel for Chinese nationals. The closure of all of the country's border crossings with Iran, which went into effect on Feb. 29, has been extended for an additional two weeks through March 28; further extensions are possible. Disruptions to flights connecting with Turkey, as well as along the Turkish border in Naxcivan, are possible at short notice.
  • Belgium: Educational facilities will remain closed until the end of the Easter holidays in late April. Bars and restaurants, with the exception of takeaways, are currently closed. All public gatherings have been banned. Public transport services continue to operate.
  • Cyprus: Travelers who have visited the Hubei region of China or Iran, Italy, or South Korea in the last 14 days are required to enter quarantine. Travelers who have visited other regions of China, or Japan, Hong Kong, France, Germany, the Achaia, Ilia and Zanykthos regions of Greece, Spain, or the UK in the last 14 days are requested to self-isolate. The Ledra Street, Astromeritis, Lefka, Dherynia, Kato Pyrgos, and Strovilia border crossings with Turkish-administered Northern Cyprus are currently closed.
  • Czech Republic: Officials have announced a 30-day nationwide state of emergency March 12. The measures will include entry restrictions at the country's land borders with Austria and Germany, as well as a temporary ban on travelers entering the country from Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK. Some cross-border workers, as well as foreign nationals with Czech residency, will not be affected. In addition, the state of emergency includes a ban on gatherings of more than 30 people and the closure of public facilities, including sports centers and educational establishments. Restaurants in shopping malls will cease operations, while food and drink establishments elsewhere will reportedly be required to close by 2000.
  • Denmark: Reports suggest that Denmark will impose land border checks March 14-April 3, and foreign nationals will be requested to justify their visit to the country. All flights from Hubei Province in China, Iran, northern Italy, Gyeongbuk Province in South Korea, and Tyrol in Austria have been suspended indefinitely. Travelers who have visited these locations will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. All kindergartens, schools, and universities will be closed from March 13. In addition, authorities have banned all gatherings of more than 100 people through at least March 31
  • Estonia: Travelers arriving from China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea, as well as the states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Wurttemberg, and Bavaria in Germany; the departments of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, Franche-Comte, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Ile-de-France in France; Madrid, Catalonia, and the Basque Country in Spain; Tirol in Austria; Japan, or Singapore, will be quarantined for 14 days. Schools are closed indefinitely and other educational facilities will close at the discretion of the local authority. All public gatherings are banned, and many public facilities are closed until May 1. Cruise ships are prohibited from docking in Tallinn until May 1.
  • France: Gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned. Schools and universities throughout the country will be closed for 15 days from March 16.
  • Georgia: Authorities have suspended travel to Iran and Italy. Land borders are closed to Iranian goods and vehicles. Enhanced health screening is occurring at ports of entry. Flights to and from China remain suspended until at least March 29. Foreign travelers who have been in Iran in the past 14 days or China in the past 21 days will be denied entry. Authorities may quarantine Georgian residents arriving from these countries for at least 14 days.
  • Germany: Schools in the states of Bavaria and Saarland are closed until the end of the Easter holidays in late April. Schools in Berlin will begin to close from March 16.
  • Greece: Large public gatherings, including conferences, have been prohibited until April 5. Educational facilities nationwide closed for 14 days March 10.
  • Ireland: As of March 12, officials in Ireland have ordered the closures of all universities, schools, and childcare facilities until at least March 29. In addition, authorities have advised against indoor gatherings of over 100 people, and outdoor gatherings of over 500 people.
  • Italy*: All flights to and from China and Iran remain suspended indefinitely.
  • Latvia: Teachers and care workers who have recently visited Austria, Belgium, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Iran, Japan, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Netherlands, the UK, or the US are requested to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival.
  • Lithuania: Lithuanian authorities have ordered all kindergartens, schools, and universities to close March 13-27. In addition, authorities have banned air travel to Italy starting March 13, and from Italy starting March 16. Authorities will also close sports, leisure, and entertainment venues throughout the country.
  • Netherlands: Authorities have banned events of more than 100 people March 12-31.
  • Norway: Authorities have closed all kindergartens, schools, and universities indefinitely from March 12. In addition, authorities have been requiring since Feb. 27 that all travelers arriving in Norway from anywhere other than Scandinavia self-quarantine for 14-days. Authorities will also close sports, leisure, and entertainment venues throughout the country.
  • Poland: Additional medical screening is in place for travelers from Italy and at major road and rail border crossings. Educational facilities nationwide will be closed March 16-25.
  • Portugal: All passenger flights to and from Italy are suspended until March 24. All schools will close indefinitely from March 16. Public places in several locations, particularly in Porto District, have been closed.
  • Romania: Educational facilities closed nationwide March 11 until at least March 22. Flights and overland public transport connecting with northern Italy have been suspended until March 31. Travelers arriving from China, Iran, South Korea, or the Italian regions of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia Romagna, are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Travelers who have visited certain designated outbreak hot spots in China, Italy, or South Korea could be placed into institutional quarantine. Authorities have banned public gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
  • Slovenia: Authorities announced that the country's border with Italy will partially close by March 16. The following border crossings will remain open subject to heightened health screenings: Ratece border crossing, Robic-Stupizza border crossing, Gorizia-Vrtojba border crossing, Fernetti-Sezana border crossing, Kozina border crossing, Skofije border crossing. Authorities have also introduced restrictions on public gatherings of more than 500 people.
  • Slovakia: Authorities have ordered the closures of all airports in the country for passenger travel from March 13; freight and private planes will not be affected. Authorities have also suspended all visits to the country by non-residents; all Slovak citizens returning from abroad will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. It remains unclear how long these measures will remain in effect. Authorities will also close all school and universities for 14 days starting March 16. Authorities also plan to close sports, leisure, and entertainment venues, and will close all shopping centers the weekend of March 14.
  • Spain**: All flights from Italy are suspended until March 25. Authorities in Madrid, the Basque Country, La Rioja, and Castilla y León have closed schools and public establishments, and have prohibited public gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
  • Sweden: No mandatory preventative measures or restrictions are in place.
  • Switzerland: Flights to and from mainland China remain suspended until March 28, and reduced flights are operating to and from Italy; in particular, flights connecting with northern Italy are suspended. Authorities have banned all gatherings of more than 1,000 participants, including demonstrations, public events, and major sporting events, until at least March 15. Some cities, including Bern, have banned smaller public gatherings.
  • Spain: Authorities have closed schools in Madrid and the Basque Country. Public gatherings of more than 1,000 people in Catalonia are currently prohibited.
  • UK: Authorities request that all travelers who have visited Hubei Province, China, in the last 14 days, as well as travelers who have returned from Iran since Feb. 19 and from Italy since March 9, remain indoors and minimize contact with other people. Travelers who have returned from elsewhere in China and South Korea, as well as from Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand, in the last 14 days and have possible COVID-19 symptoms should also self-isolate immediately. This guidance also applies to travelers with possible symptoms who have returned from elsewhere in northern Italy, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, or Vietnam since Feb. 19.
  • Ukraine: Officials have closed 170 of the country's 219 border crossings until April 3. Road, rail, and pedestrian crossings in the Lviv, Transcarpathian, and Volyn oblasts along Ukraine's borders with Belarus, Hungary, and Poland are reportedly closed. Public places nationwide, including educational establishments, conference centers, cinemas, and other entertainment venues, are closed until at least March 31.


*Local movement restrictions in Italy are detailed in a separate WorldAware alert titled "Italy - Travel Restrictions - Nationwide".

**Local movement restrictions in Spain's Catalonia region are detailed in a separate WorldAware alert titled "Spain - Travel Restrictions - Catalonia".

Panic buying of essential goods, particularly hygiene products, has been reported in many locations and has led to temporary shortages. Such shortages are likely to be quickly resolved. School closures will probably result in increased absenteeism among employees who are the parents or guardians of school-aged children. In addition, increasing numbers of workers will likely work from home in the coming weeks as a routine health precaution and due to voluntary self-isolation.

Governments could expand their responses in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers but may lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from mainland China and other countries with significant numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Advice
Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, or Thailand. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Consider and test contingency plans to allow remote working where possible.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.