The European Commission has issued a statement calling for continued measures to minimalize the spread of the coronavirus which causes COVID-19. The commission said the situation “remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide, and recommended to 30-day extension of the current EU travel ban.
According to the news, the EU will likely keep the travel ban in place until June 15. The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said that after June 15, lifting of the travel constraints should be implemented in a “phased and coordinated” way in order to prevent a second wave of the epidemic. Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson had this to say:
“We need a phased and coordinated approach. Restoring the normal functioning of the Schengen area of free movement is our first objective as soon as the health situation allows it. Restrictions on free movement and internal border controls will need to be lifted gradually before we can remove restrictions at the external borders and guarantee access to the EU for non-EU residents for non-essential travel.”
EU member states closed their borders to travelers from outside the bloc in March, in a bid to curb the rapidly spreading COVID-19. Other nations also moved quickly to close their internal borders to travelers, even those from fellow-member states – a move which was frowned-upon in Brussels.
The EU travel ban 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.
The Commission statement came after France had already announced that it would keep its own borders shut to non-essential travelers until “at least June 15th.” By May 8th 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.