Countries across Europe and the world are imposing or considering short-term bans on travel links with the United Kingdom. These are the main questions and answers.
The contagious surge of the Covid-19 virus that appears to be spreading in London and parts of southeast England is causing serious concern around the world.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock described the matter as “out of control”, although it is not believed to cause more serious disease.
Foreign countries are understandably concerned about the risk of the mutant coronavirus strain spreading dangerously over their territory. As a result, several European countries called for the suspension of transport links with the United Kingdom.
They are placing restrictions on travelers from the UK, and in some cases those who have spent time in the UK in the past two weeks.
Over the next two days, the European Union will work on measures to allow travel again, possibly with stringent testing requirements.
Where are the worst problems?
France Traffic from the UK was suspended until 11.59pm on Tuesday, December 22nd.
The biggest problem is across the canal to France. The ferry terminal at Dover Port Closed to accompanying traffic leaving the UK until further notice due to French border restrictions.
The last Eurotunnel shuttle flight from Folkestone to Calais was at 9.34pm. Access to the station is now forbidden.
Transportation Secretary Grant Shaps, chirp: “After the French government announced that it will not accept any travelers arriving from the United Kingdom for the next 48 hours, we ask the general public and especially the carriers not to travel to Kent ports or other routes to France.
We expect major disruption to the region. My department is working urgently with Highways England and Kent Council on emergency measures to reduce traffic disruption in the area. “
Any other countries?
The first restriction – a two-week flight ban – had been introduced before Netherlands The Ministry of Health in the early hours of Sunday morning. Dozens of flights were canceled on Sunday, with many others suspended until January 1, 2021.
Belgium He imposed a ban for 24 hours from 0.01 am on Monday, December 21, when the State Department said: “Subject to scientific consultations, the lockdown could be extended for a longer period.”
Separately, Belgium is applying for evidence of a negative Covid-19 test, which took no more than 48 hours before arrival, in order to enter the country. This will apply on Christmas Day.
Next was Austrian The government announced that, as of 0.01 AM on Tuesday 22nd December, there will be a ban on flights from the UK.
Italy A flight ban has been declared until January 6, 2021, and anyone already in Italy who has been in the UK since December 6 must inform local health authorities and take the Covid-19 test.
All arrivals to Italy between now and January 6, 2021 – from anywhere – must self-isolate for a period of 14 days.
Switzerland The flight ban was announced late Sunday night. It is not clear when it will start. The State Department says that anyone arriving in the afternoon local time (11:00 GMT) on Monday from the UK, regardless of nationality, will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.
What about Ireland?
The ban is in effect on Monday 21 and Tuesday 22 December and the Irish Cabinet will review measures on Tuesday.
This is very unusual: Ireland and the United Kingdom fall into a common travel area and work very closely together. Additionally, a very large number of Irish people living in Great Britain were planning to return to the Republic for Christmas.
The government in Dublin says arrangements are in place to allow Irish residents on short trips to the UK to return in the coming days, as well as international travelers to Ireland who pass through the UK.
On the contrary, Aer Lingus will operate flights to the UK (empty return) on its regular schedule.
Citizens in distress can contact the Irish Embassy in London 020 7235 2171 or send an email to [email protected]
Arrivals from Northern Ireland are not expected to be affected.
Spain The main exception: it appears to be permitted from the UK. Under current rules, all passengers must arrive with a negative Covid test.
Portugal He says only its returning citizens, and foreigners residing there, will be allowed to travel from the UK – and they should get tested for Covid-19.
Germany All flights are banned until 11 p.m. on December 31, which is when the Brexit transition ends.
Meanwhile, the countries of Central and Eastern Europe are taking action.
Greece They still allow arrivals from the UK, but the Ministry of Health said they must quarantine for a week instead of the three days required for other travelers.
The Czech The government has initially introduced mandatory quarantine for those who have traveled from the UK, or have spent more than 24 hours in the UK in the past 14 days. It has now imposed a flight ban starting Monday December 21.
Romania Banned all flights from the UK for two weeks.
Bulgaria It imposed a link ban from the UK until January 31, 2021, but this – like all other initial periods – is subject to change.
Several other countries are considering a ban.
Anywhere long distance?
Kuwait It was the first non-European country to ban any traveler who had been in the UK during the previous two weeks. This ban will affect a relatively small number of people; Kuwait is not an important tourist destination, and it imposes 14 days of quarantine on all arrivals.
If the United Arab Emirates followed suit, more people would be affected.
How about traveling from abroad to the UK?
The UK has no specific restrictions on any of these countries except for the usual quarantine requirements. So in theory, British citizens returning home should be able to travel without problems. But if flights are canceled in one direction, they tend to cancel in the other direction as well.
In some cases this may be the continuation of “direction” flights – for example, flying empty from the UK to a country, then returning people. Aer Lingus has confirmed that it will.
Additionally, Eurostar will operate train services from Paris to London on December 21 and 22, but not in the opposite direction.
I am due to travel to a country. What are my rights?
When a flight is canceled, you will have a full cash refund within a week. For group holidays, you must get all your money back within two weeks.
“If your flight is canceled, we will contact you, but please check the status of your flight before traveling to the airport.”
Ryanair notifies travelers who have booked their travel until Christmas Eve including: “For any flights to / from the UK in the coming days that have been banned under EU government regulations, all affected customers will receive an email notification and will be presented virtually with alternatives including: So free moves (change fees do not apply) or refunds if they wish. “
I have family members trying to come back to the UK from Europe. what can they do?
While there is a general presumption against international travel to the UK, many British citizens working overseas expect to return in the next few days.
Passengers should either wait for procedures to be suspended or consider alternative routes. However, this may be difficult as new restrictions are imposed in a very short time.
Complex trips will also increase the risks for the individual and those they encounter along the way.
For those who choose to stay where they are, European Air Passenger Rights Rules mean that the airline is obligated to find and pay for accommodation so it can take passengers to where they need to be.
I have a long haul flight across a European hub that isn’t working. what should I do?
For people who have booked on Air France via Paris, KLM via Amsterdam, or Lufthansa via Frankfurt or Munich, European Air Passenger Rights rules come to your rescue.
If one portion of the flight is canceled, the carrier is still obligated to find an alternative way of returning home – for example without a stopover on British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, or via a hub in the Gulf (assuming they don’t impose a flight ban either.)