With the epidemiological situation starting to deteriorate within the European Union and with the detection of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant, several EU/Schengen Area countries have decided to review their rules and impose stricter entry restrictions.
In order to prevent the COVID-19 cases from increasing and the Omicron variant from spreading any further, the EU countries have been keeping strict rules for persons who are traveling from Omicron-affected countries.
Several countries have decided to impose stricter entry rules for EU nationals, too, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Ireland is just one of the countries where all travelers need to present a negative COVID-19 test result to enter.
The Irish Ministry of Health explains that the testing requirement applies to everyone; even to those who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from the virus. However, vaccinated and recovered travelers can choose between a PCR or rapid antigen test; whereas the others can only present a PCR test.
Similarly, the Norwegian authorities have introduced a mandatory testing requirement for all travellers. Since December 3, all persons, including fully vaccinated and recovered travellers, must undergo COVID-19 testing.
“From Friday, December 3, at 12 am, any person who arrives in Norway must get a test; regardless of their vaccination status,” the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services announced earlier this week.
Travelers who reach Norway can either take a Coronavirus test at testing centers at the border; or take a test before entering the Norwegian territory. Those who decide to take the test before traveling, it should 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. The authorities of Switzerland decided earlier this week to lift the quarantine obligation for all travellers, while at the same time imposing stricter testing rules.
Since travelers don’t need to quarantine when reaching Switzerland, they will instead need to present a COVID-19 test, before entry. In addition to that, everyone needs a second test between the fourth and the seventh day upon their arrival.
France has also imposed a testing obligation for incoming travellers. However, in contrast to the other countries, only third-country nationals need to present a negative COVID-19 test when reaching France. The test must be taken within 48 hours before entry.
Even though the EU countries have just now started to impose restrictions due to the detection of the new COVID-19 variant, it is believed that Omicron was in Europe long before it was detected in the Southern African countries.