When the UK variant was detected last December, EU countries took a coordinated approach in an attempt to slow the spread, with the Italian health minister saying travel restrictions were needed while more studies on the new strain were carried out.
But this time, countries’ responses to the new strain have varied much more.
France on Wednesday placed tough new restrictions on arrivals from the UK over fears of the so-called Indian variant.
From Monday, May 31st, travel will only be allowed from the UK to France for essential reasons – with an exception for French and EU citizens or people resident in France or other EU countries.
All arrivals will need to show a negative PCR or antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours (not 72 hours as was previously the rule) and are asked to self-isolate for seven days.
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Germany decided on Sunday to close its borders to British travellers. Only German citizens or citizens resident in Germany can enter the country, and both categories will have to go through a 14-day quarantine, even with the negative PCR test.
“There are local outbreaks occurring again, including cases of more infectious variants such as the Indian variant at present,” said the German Embassy in the UK.
“Therefore, to prevent the further spread of the virus, the United Kingdom has been classified as an area of variant of concern.”
Meanwhile, Austria has also limited arrivals from the UK. Flights from the United Kingdom will no longer be allowed to land from June 1st, and entry from the United Kingdom to Austria will only be possible to a limited extent and with a negative PCR test.
Spain on the other hand has removed all restrictions for British tourists. From May 24th, UK holidaymakers can visit Spain without the need to quarantine or present a negative PCR test result. They will however need to fill in a health control form.
Spain will also allow all vaccinated travellers – regardless of their country of origin – to visit the country from June 7th.
“From June 7th, all vaccinated people and their families will be welcome in our country, Spain, regardless of their country of origin,” Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said last week.
Spain has not yet confirmed which vaccines will be accepted other than those approved for use by Europe’s medicines agency.
Sweden has no specific guidance for travellers from the UK, but they are currently subject to an entry ban that applies to all non-EU countries. This means people can only enter Sweden from the UK if they meet two conditions: they must belong to a category exempt from the entry ban (including Swedish residents, EU citizens, and people travelling for essential reasons) and they also need to show a negative Covid-19 test no older than 48 hours (although there is a different list of exemptions from the test requirement, including Swedish residents).
Authorities in Switzerland have added the UK to its list of high-risk countries for Covid-19 due to the rising number of infections linked to the variant first detected in India.
Norway doesn’t have any specific restrictions for those travelling from the UK, however only a small group of people outside of residents and citizens can enter the country. You can see the list of exceptions here.
Residents returning to Norway from the UK will need to provide some form of proof that they lived in Norway prior to their departure, such as a rental contract. They will be able to quarantine at home as long as Covid-19 infections remain below 150 per 100,000 for the previous two weeks before their departure date.
All travellers returning to Norway, including those from the UK, will have to present a negative test taken within 24 hours hours of their departure flight. This can be either a PCR test or rapid antigen test. Travellers also need to fill out a registration form before their departure and take a test at the airport when they arrive in Norway.
Like Norway, Denmark is yet to introduce any specific restrictions on travel from the UK related to the B.1.617.2 or Indian variant. The Danish foreign ministry designates the UK an orange country. The UK’s current incidence of the virus would qualify it for the more lenient yellow designation, but Denmark is currently only marking EU and Schengen countries yellow.
Because of its status as an orange country, current rules mean that people travelling from the UK to Denmark are still required to provide a worthy purpose for their trip, and must test for Covid-19 before travel and on arrival in Denmark. They must also isolate after arriving in Denmark. These restrictions apply to people who have been vaccinated, but those who have recently recovered from Covid-19 are exempt from testing and isolation requirements.
Italy has not yet said whether it may impose new restrictions on travel from the United Kingdom. It lifted the previous quarantine obligation for UK arrivals on May 16th.
At the moment, UK travellers can come to Italy for any reason but are required to show a certificate proving their negative result from a PCR or antigen test taken within the previous 48 hours when arriving in Italy.
Italy has not yet confirmed when it will allow vaccinated travellers to enter the country without restrictions, or given any details of how its ‘green pass’ will work for international arrivals, including those who are fully vaccinated.