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8 May, 2020 17:37

‘Situation fragile’: EU says borders should stay closed until June 15 on Covid-19 fears

‘Situation fragile’: EU says borders should stay closed until June 15 on Covid-19 fears

The European Union will likely keep its external borders shut until June 15, after a recommendation from the European Commission to extend the current Covid-19 travel ban by another 30 days.

In a statement on Friday, the Commission said that despite progress in many countries, the coronavirus situation “remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide” and calls for “continued measures” to reduce the virus spread. 

Lifting travel restrictions should therefore be effected in a “phased and coordinated” way in order to prevent a second wave of infections, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said.

EU member states closed their borders to travelers from outside the bloc in March, in a bid to curb the rapidly spreading coronavirus. At the same time, some countries also quickly moved to close their internal borders to travelers, even those from fellow-member states – a move which was frowned-upon in Brussels.

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The ban on travel does not affect the UK since it is still in its Brexit transition phase and is still treated in many ways as an EU member. Healthcare workers and other workers, including those transporting cargo, are also exempt from the restrictions.

While the Commission statement came on Friday, France had already announced on Thursday that it would keep its own borders shut to non-essential travelers until “at least June 15th.”

As of May 8, there were more than 1.5 million cases of Covid-19 infection reported across Europe, with Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany among the worst-hit countries.

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