Europe is the New Coronavirus Epicenter, per the World Health Organization, noting that more cases are being reported daily in Europe than were in China at the height of the coronavirus epidemic there.
There were 250 deaths from coronavirus in Europe over the last 24 hours, and Italy now has over 15,000 confirmed cases, while Spain has over 4000, Germany over 3000, and France nearly 3000.
Here's what European countries are currently doing, which impacts movement and visits for non-citizens:
- Austria: Closed three land borders with Italy to all foreigners, with a few exceptions for goods and those transiting Austria without stopping; border checks with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, banning flights from France, Spain and Switzerland on 3/16
- Czech Republic: Banning all foreigners from entering the country, except for permanent residents, as of 3/16
- Denmark: Closing land borders from 3/14/20-4/13/20 except for Danish citizens and foreign nationals living and working in Denmark
- Poland: Flights and trains cancelled from 3/14 at midnight; ban on foreign visitors entering Poland; mandatory 2 week quarantine for Polish citizens returning from abroad. These measures apply for 10 days, but can be extended by a further 20 days
- Slovakia: Only Slovak residents and foreigners with residency permits will be permitted in
- Ukraine: All passenger flights being halted starting 3/17
Unfortunately, at this point, for most countries in Europe, as well as in the U.S., cancelling international flights and banning non-citizens from visiting with the measures above or the Trump Europe-U.S. Travel Ban won't appreciably affect the trajectory of coronavirus cases, as there's already significant community transmission. What is really needed at this point is much more readily available coronavirus testing (including of those who may have been exposed but are asymptomatic) together with social distancing.
Ironically, given that the coronavirus first emerged in China, nearby destinations such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan are much safer to visit at this point vis-a-vis the coronavirus than a number of places in Europe and the U.S.
How are your travel plans being impacted by the coronavirus?
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