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New COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Imposed by EU/Schengen Countries Throughout the Weekend Explained

As the epidemiological situation within the European Union begins to deteriorate and with the discovery of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, many EU/Schengen area countries have decided to review their rules and impose stricter entry restrictions.

In order to prevent cases of COVID-19 from increasing and not to spread the Omicron variant further, EU countries maintain strict rules for people traveling from Omicron affected countries.

With the exception of tightening rules for Omicron-affected areas, many countries have decided to impose stricter entry rules for EU citizens as well, reports.

Ireland is only one of the countries whose authorities have announced that since yesterday, December 5, all travelers have had to submit a negative COVID-19 test result in order to be allowed into the country.

>> Ireland will implement new travel rules from 5 December, due to worsening COVID-19 situation

The Irish Department of Health has made clear that the test requirement applies to everyone, even those who have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. However, vaccinated and recovered travelers can choose between a PCR test or a rapid antigen test, while others can only offer a PCR test.

Similarly, the Norwegian authorities have introduced a mandatory testing requirement for all travelers. Since December 3, all people, including travelers who have been fully vaccinated and recovered, must be tested for COVID-19.

The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Welfare Services announced earlier this week: “From Friday, December 3, at 12 am, anyone arriving in Norway must undergo screening, regardless of their vaccination status.”

Travelers arriving in Norway can either take a coronavirus test at testing centers already set up at border crossing points or take a test before entering Norwegian territory. Those who decide to take the test before traveling should note that the test result must not be older than 24 hours.

In order to prevent the further spread of the Omicron variant, the Swiss Federal Council has also decided to amend the travel rules. Swiss authorities decided earlier this week to lift the quarantine obligation for all travelers, while at the same time imposing stricter testing rules.

Since travelers will no longer have to undergo mandatory quarantine requirements upon arrival in Switzerland, they will instead have to submit a COVID-19 test taken prior to entry. In addition, everyone will be required to take a second test between the fourth and seventh day when they arrive.

France has also imposed an obligation to test incoming travelers. However, unlike the countries listed above, third-country nationals are only required to submit a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival in France. The test must be taken within 48 hours prior to entry.

Although EU countries are just beginning to impose restrictions due to the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron is believed to have been in Europe long before it was detected in South African countries.

>> Omicron was in Europe before the travel ban was imposed on South African countries

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