Covid-19 Movement Restrictions

Regional News • Europe
Portugal suspends flights from Brazil
Heather Cowper TAP aeroplane at Lisbon airport
Heather Cowper TAP aeroplane at Lisbon airport Credit: Heather Cowper (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Portuguese Interior Ministry said that the worsening of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world and the detection of new variants justified the decision. The suspension will happen, initially, between January 29th and February 14th.

Only repatriation and humanitarian flights are allowed and even then travelers will need to show a negative Covid-19 test result that was done 72 hours before boarding and will submit to a 14-day isolation period.

Regional News • Europe • France
Decision on third lockdown in France "in the coming days"
Decision on third lockdown in France "in the coming days"
Credit: unsplash.com / Kevin Dellandrea

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that the decision whether the government would impose a third lockdown will be coming "in the coming days". France has seen a rise in infections as well as hospitalisation. Over the past two days, 1000 people were hospitalised for Coronavirus in France. Jean-François Delfraissy, the head of France's advisory Scientific Council, said on TV that a third lockdown in France "will probably be necessary".

Regional News • Europe
Portugal: schools, kindergartens and universities close amid Coronavirus surge
Paços da Universidade, Portugal
Paços da Universidade, Portugal Credit: xiquinhosilva from Cacau, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In Portugal, the government orders the closure of schools and universities for at least 15 days. Due to the new virus variant and the rapid transmission, caution must be exercised, says Prime Minister Antonio Costa, explaining the measure. The country reported 221 more Corona deaths on Thursday alone, the most ever in a single day, and 13,544 new infections.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
KLM suspends all of its long-haul flights
Boeing 787-900 above the dutch coast
Boeing 787-900 above the dutch coast Credit: KLM

The Dutch airline KLM will suspend all its intercontinental flights and some European routes from Friday now that the Netherlands requires a rapid coronavirus test before entry.

New requirements mandated by the government require passengers to obtain a negative Covid-19 rapid test result no later than four hours prior to departure to the Netherlands. In addition, passengers must also have a negative result from a PCR test conducted within 72 hours from their flight's departure to be let into the country.

Regional News • World
Biden to not lift international travel restrictions
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020.
An officer with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Field Operations welcomes and clears international travelers arriving at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Va., March 13, 2020. Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Jen Psaki, President-elect Joe Biden’s press secretary, dismissed Donald Trump's order to lift the ban on travellers from Europe and Brazil that has been in place since March 2020, instead announced plans to "strengthen public health measures around international travel."

"With the pandemic worsening, and more contagious variants emerging around the world, this is not the time to be lifting restrictions on international travel," Psaki tweeted. "On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26. In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria extends lockdown to February 7, mandates FFP2 masks
Austria extends lockdown to February 7, mandates FFP2 masks
Credit: Herzi Pinki, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Austrian government has extended the nationwide lockdown to February 7, citing the new mutation B.1.1.7 that was first discovered in the United Kingdom and the daily case count of well over 1000 newly confirmed infections. Chancellor Kurz promises "complete normality" until summer and warned that "we still have two to three tough months ahead of us".

FFP2 masks will be mandatory in all stores and on public transport and strongly recommended everywhere else from January 25 on. Starting February 8, non-essential businesses will be able to reopen while hotels, restaurants and the cultural sector will have to remain closed awaiting further evaluation in February.

Regional News • Oceania
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021
Credit: Michael Coghlan from Adelaide, Australia, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

The Australian government's chief medical adviser, Brendan Murphy, has told ABC TV that lifting substantial border restrictions is not expected in 2021, despite an early start to the vaccination campaign. Australia's borders have been closed to travellers since March 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

"I think that we'll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions – even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don't know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus," Professor Murphy said.

"And it's likely that quarantine will continue for some time. One of the things about this virus is that the rule book has been made up as we go."

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria extends Covid-19 lockdown until at least February 7th

In Austria, the lockdown will be extended for the time being by two weeks until February 7. After that, the government announced in a press conference that there could be some initial easing. Trade and museums are then likely to reopen under strict conditions.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Berlin to implement a 15-kilometre travel restriction for residents
Berlin to implement a 15-kilometre travel restriction for residents
Credit: onnola (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In a special session on Tuesday, Berlin's government, the state Senate, set to join other parts of the country in implementing a 15-kilometre "Corona-Ring" beyond city limits, with residents restricted to travel within it.

The Senate also decided that the rule would stay in place until the incidence rate keeps below 200 for seven consecutive days.

"The goal of everything we're doing is to reduce travel and contact," Finance Senator Matthias Kollatz told reporters after the session. "The 15-kilometre rule, when the rate hits 200, aims to achieve a further reduction."

Regional News • Europe • United Kingdom
UK bans travellers from South America
UK bans travellers from South America
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler. (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The UK has banned people who are from or have travelled through Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela in the last 10 days. The ban will come into force from Friday and is due to a new variant identified in Brazil. British, Irish and foreign nations may enter the country but must isolate for 10 days.

Transportation • Air Transportation & Traffic, Flying
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Ryanair to operate "few, if any" flights to or from the UK & Ireland
Credit: unsplash.com/Sangga Rima Roman Selia

Due to new lockdowns in Ireland, the United Kingdom and some other EU countries, the Irish low-cost airline Ryanair is drastically cutting its flight offerings starting January 21, the company announced Thursday.

From January 21, Ryanair plans to operate "few, if any" flights to and from British and Irish airports. This will apply until the severe travel restrictions are lifted.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Tokyo: State of emergency declared issued amid Coronavirus surge

Japan has issued a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and three surrounding areas - Saitama, Kanagawa and Chiba. Schools, gyms, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to remain open under certain restrictions. Restaurants will have to shorten their opening hours or be "named and shamed" by the government. The state of emergency will end of February 7th.

Regional News • Europe • Germany
Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown until January 31
Germany extends Covid-19 lockdown until January 31
Credit: Bundesregierung (Public Domain)

Germany's federal and state governments have agreed to extend the existing Covid-19 measures until January 31. Also, further measures will be taken, in particular, contact restrictions are to be greatly strengthened, and private contacts are to be reduced to one person outside the household.

Additionally, travel without a valid reason will be restricted to no more than 15 kilometres in hotspot-areas and day trips will be prohibited.

Regional News • Asia • Japan
Japan considers 1-month long state of emergency for Tokyo area

Japan is considering declaring a state of emergency as numbers of Coronavirus cases rise. It would apply to Tokyo and the three neighboring prefectures of Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa. In his new year's speech, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga already hinted at measures to keep the virus from spreading. Japan reported 4520 new cases on December 31st and 3158 on January 3rd.

Regional News • Middle East
Saudi Arabia: Temporary travel ban ended and international flights resumed

Saudi Arabia lifted its temporary travel ban on 11 o'clock Sunday after closing borders following the UK's new Coronavirus strain detection. The ministry of interior announced lifting the “precautionary measures related to the spread of a new variant of coronavirus” in a statement.

Regional News • Europe • France
100,000 police deployed to enforce curfew on New Year's Eve
100,000 police deployed to enforce curfew on New Year's Eve
Credit: unsplash/ev

France is mobilising 100,000 police and gendarmes on New Year's Eve to enforce a coronavirus curfew and gathering rules as well as preventing vandalism. "The priority in the next few days must be to fight against unauthorised public gatherings and the phenomenon of urban violence," Interior minister Gérald Darmanin announced on Tuesday.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Hundreds of British tourists disappeared from Swiss quarantine
Hundreds of British tourists disappeared from Swiss quarantine
Credit: unsplash.com / Catharina Short Sundberg

Hundreds of British tourists have disappeared during the night from the Swiss ski resort Verbier despite being in mandatory quarantine because of the new Covid-19 variant.

Authorities had identified 420 guests from Britain who had been quarantined before Christmas, he said. About 50 left immediately, he said, and of the 370 others, less than a dozen were still there on Sunday.

Some have since reported back from France, Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the municipality of Bagnes, to which Verbier belongs, said today.

Regional News • Europe • Austria
Austria goes into its third hard lockdown
Austria goes into its third hard lockdown
Credit: unsplash.com / Ashley Winkler

The Austrian government has imposed the nation's third lockdown, starting on Saturday 26, after giving people looser rules over the Christmas holidays. From Saturday on, all non-essential business and in-person education will remain closed until at least January 18 and people will not be allowed to leave their homes except for "necessary basic needs of life", exercise, work and health reasons.

Regional News • Europe
EU Commission recommends "coordinated approach to free movement" in regards to UK travel over Covid-19 variant
EU Commission recommends "coordinated approach to free movement" in regards to UK travel over Covid-19 variant
Credit: unsplash.com / Guillaume Périgois

The European Commission has urged the member states of the European Union to "take coordinated action to discourage non-essential travel between the UK and the EU. At the same time, blanket travel bans should not prevent thousands of EU and UK citizens from returning to their homes" according to Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Ontario: Hard lockdown after Coronavirus case surge
Ontario: Hard lockdown after Coronavirus case surge
Credit: HickoryOughtShirt?4, via Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Canadian province Ontario is imposing a hard lockdown before the Christmas holidays. Thousands of lives are at stake, said Ontario’s premier Doug Ford. Northern communities face two weeks of restrictions while densely populated cities in the south will be in lockdown for a month.

What will be closed: Most in-person education, schools, restaurants, bars, malls, entertainment venues, gyms.