The coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic which has spread across the globe, with cases on five continents. At this moment, the European Union is considered to be at the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic. The rapid spread of COVID-19 makes it essential that the EU and Member States take urgent, immediate and concerted action not only to protect the public health of our populations, but also to prevent the virus from further spreading from the EU to other countries, as has been observed in recent weeks.
For that reason, a temporary travel restriction should apply for 30 days effective March 17, 2020.
The temporary travel restriction should apply to all non-essential travel from third countries to the EU. For such a temporary travel restriction to have the desired effect in terms of restricting the spread of the virus, exceptions need to be limited to travel for essential purposes.
The temporary travel restriction must exempt nationals of all EU Member States and Schengen Associated States*, for the purposes of returning to their homes. This exemption must apply to:
- all EU citizens and citizens of the Schengen Associated States*, and their family members;
- third-country nationals who hold a valid EU residence permit and persons deriving their right to reside from other EU Directives or national law or who hold national long-term visas.
It should also not apply to other travellers with an essential function or need, including:
- Healthcare professionals, health researchers, and elderly care professionals;
- Frontier workers;
- Transport personnel engaged in haulage of goods and other transport staff to the extent necessary;
- Diplomats, staff of international organisations, military personnel and humanitarian aid workers in the exercise of their functions;
- Passengers in transit;
- Passengers travelling for imperative family reasons;
- Persons in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons.
*Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland.