After Israel banned all international travel to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variant, a wave of new travel restrictions might also come to Europe.
On January 26, 2021, the German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced that the German government is considering a ban on almost all international air travel in an effort to stop the spread of the new coronavirus variant.
“The danger posed by numerous virus mutations forces us to consider drastic measures. That includes significantly stricter border checks, especially at borders with high-risk areas, but also reducing air travel to Germany to almost zero, as Israel is currently doing,” said Seehofer.
On January 26, 2021, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also said that “no tourist travel should be taking place”.
The ban was heavily criticized by the German Travel Association saying that the tourism and aviation sector has already been hit hard by the restrictions. “The government should take this into account. It should not concentrate on further tightening our already tightly restricted freedom of movement.”
Other countries in Europe are also trying to restrict international travel. Sweden has already banned entry to foreign nationals arriving from the United Kingdom and Denmark. On January 24, 2021, the ban was extended for the entry from Norway.
Belgium has banned all leisure travel abroad for its citizens as well as all tourist travel to and from the country, from January 27 to March 1, 2021.
On January 20, 2021, the Dutch government announced tightened measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections. “Do not travel abroad and do not book any trips abroad in the period up to and including 31 March 2021,” read the government’s statement. In addition, the ban on flights from the United Kingdom and South Africa was extended for one more month.
The British minister Nadhim Zahawi warned UK consumers to hold off booking holidays. “There’s still 37,000 people in hospital with COVID at the moment – it’s far too early for us to even speculate about the summer,” said Zahawi.