Several countries in the EU have moved to ban travelers from the UK from visiting over the festive period due to the country’s high level of Covid-19 cases and fears of the Omicron variant. The bans across the continent differ in levels of severity, from a complete ban of travelers from the UK to restricting access for unvaccinated travelers or adding stricter testing requirements in order to be able to enter.
On top of restricting access, lockdown has returned to the continent in one of its severest forms, with the Netherlands forced into a strict lockdown just days before Christmas due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Here’s a closer look at which countries have added restrictions for travelers from the UK, what the new restrictions are and what the latest version of lockdown in the Netherlands entails.
New Restrictions On UK Travelers – Information For Travelers
France was amongst the first countries to impose strict new restrictions on British travelers when it did so from Saturday, December 18th. Under the latest restrictions, travelers heading to France who are not French will be unable to enter if they cannot offer a “compelling reason” for traveling. On top of that, all arrivals to the country will have to provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within 24 hours before isolating for at least two days.
The decision was taken as the French Prime Minister Jean Castex warned of an Omicron “landslide” coming to the country. Talking about the new restrictions, the Prime Minister said:
“As the Omicron variant spreads extremely quickly in the United Kingdom, the French government has decided to re-implement compelling reasons for travels from and to the United Kingdom, and to reinforce mandatory tests at departures and arrivals.”
As well as France, Germany has also tightened its restrictions on British travelers. From midnight on Sunday 19th December, those leaving the UK for Germany for a vacation will be forced to quarantine for a period of 14 days, regardless of their vaccination status. They will also have to provide a negative PCR test result. The new restrictions will not apply to German nationals, residents or transit passengers.
Italy and Spain have also imposed their own restrictions on British travelers this week. All UK arrivals to Italy must have a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours before arrival, whilst fully vaccinated travelers can opt for an antigen test within 24 hours instead. Unvaccinated travelers must also self isolate for five days. Those heading to Spain must be fully vaccinated in order to be able to enter, with the rules applying to everyone over the age of 12.
Having gone into a soft version of lockdown recently, the Netherlands is set to go into a full lockdown from Sunday 19th December. The announcement will see non-essential shops, bars, gyms, hairdressers and other public venues closed until mid-January, whilst no events are permitted to take place. The announcement is set to wreak havoc to the vacation plans of both international and domestic travelers.
The move makes the Netherlands the first country to reenter lockdown ahead of Christmas, though there are worrying trends that suggest it won’t be the only place to do so. It was announced yesterday that more than 10,000 cases of the Omicron variant were found in the UK, whilst other countries in Europe have also seen the numbers rise over the past few days.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories