With travelling during pandemic being out of the question, for now, many people are asking themselves when can they start planning their next destination again. Plenty of travellers are stuck in foreign countries, losing tons of money trying to get back home.
Governments all over the world recommend staying at home and avoiding travelling, however there are people that have no other choice but travel to perform essential activities.
Exemptions from travel restrictions
According to the Official European Commission website, there are a few categories of people that are granted a free pass during this period.
This refers to people with an essential function or need, including seasonal workers in agriculture.
People with an essential function or need, including healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals.
EU citizens’ family members
The temporary travel restriction must exempt nationals of all EU Member States and Schengen Associated States, as well as their family members travelling to return to their homes in the EU. EU citizens and their families are considered to be ‘returning home’ when seeking to reach the Member State of the EU citizen’s nationality even if the latter, and his/her family members, do not reside there.
The temporary travel restrictions should not apply to transport personnel. This category should be interpreted broadly.
Someone claiming asylum
The temporary travel restrictions should not apply to travel by people with an essential need, including persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons.
If you fall into one of these categories, there are a few things you should consider, according to WHO
- Perform hand hygiene frequently, particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred if hands are not visibly soiled; wash hands with soap and water when they are visibly soiled;
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene;
- Refrain from touching mouth and nose;
- A medical mask is not required if exhibiting no symptoms, as there is no evidence that wearing a mask – of any type – protects non-sick persons. However, in some cultures, masks may be commonly worn. If masks are to be worn, it is critical to follow best practices on how to wear, remove and dispose of them and on hand hygiene after removal
When can we travel again?
This is the million-dollar question. The truth is no one knows for sure. A few European countries, like Germany or France, have extended their emergency health laws for another couple of months, aiming realistically for July or end of July. Others, like Spain or Norway, are trying to slightly go back to normal. In most countries, visitors are required a 2 weeks quarantine upon arrival, not an ideal way to start a holiday.
This is a list of restrictions that currently apply for some of the most popular countries. For UK citizens, a more detailed list of countries and the current restrictions can be found here.
- France: There’s a requirement to provide a certificate that attests your reasons for transiting the country. From 25 May a voluntary 14 days self-quarantine will apply to those arriving in France from outside the UK, EU (except Spain where arrivals by air will be asked to self-quarantine) Andorra, Holy See, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Monaco, Norway and Switzerland. Read more here
- Greece: Starting on the 15th of June, everyone arriving in Greece will be subject to mandatory testing and self-quarantine for 7 days. Self-quarantine is mandatory even if the test result comes back negative. Those who fail to comply could face prosecution and/or fines.
- Japan: Non-japanese nationals are forbidden to enter the country. This also applies to those who normally live in Japan and are temporarily out of the country.
- Italy: Many airports in Italy are still closed and 2 weeks self-isolation is no longer necessary. However, travellers are required to fill this form in order to be allowed in.
- Thailand: all flights to Thailand are suspended until the end of June, foreigners barred from entering the country.
- Spain: Allows only citizens, residents and frontier workers to enter the country. Green residency certificates are the only document accepted as proof of residency at this point.
- Poland: A 14 days self-isolation period is required by the authorities in Poland. There are a few categories exempt. Read more here.
- Egypt: International flight are suspended until further notice.
- Bulgaria: visitors are required a 14 days self-isolation period and the completion of a form providing the address where they can be found.
- United Arab Emirates: Entry is only permitted to UAE nationals and residents who have applied for re-entry online and have been given permission to re-enter with a unique reference code. This will be used to then book flights back to the UAE with Emirates or Etihad airlines. Read more here.
- USA: Entry is not permitted to those coming from UK, Ireland, Schengen zone, Iran or China. US citizens, permanent residents, certain specified close family members and certain other limited categories of visas holders (such as UN staff and diplomats) are exempt but still required to a 14 days self-quarantine.
We all miss travelling and discovering new destinations, we miss those people we meet only once and remember for a lifetime, we miss escaping!
Until it’s safe to go back to our normal lives, we are left with one option: that of travelling virtually, seeing places we’ve probably never thought of, maybe some that are not even accessible to people in general.