News ID: 301780
Published: 0302 GMT April 02, 2021

New COVID restrictions sweep Europe ahead of Easter

New COVID restrictions sweep Europe ahead of Easter
A woman walks on a street in Greece’s capital, Athens.

Europe may not be subject to the drastic lockdown measures introduced to combat the first wave of coronavirus a year ago, but many countries still face another Easter of greatly reduced meeting and movement.

In France, new restrictions come into effect across the country from 7 p.m. on Saturday that limit travel to within 10km of home, absent one of the allowed “imperative” reasons. Sworn declarations known as “attestations” will be necessary for anyone travelling outside these rules, the Guardian reported.

These restrictions are already in effect in Paris and some other departments and were extended in an announcement by Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday evening.

In Belgium, the Easter holidays this year officially take place between April 3-18, but they started a week earlier for pupils and parents. The government closed schools from March 26 as part of a tightening of its long-running lockdown.

As part of its response to a rise in infections, the government also maintained a ban on non-essential travel in and out of the country.

Spain remains under a state of emergency and subject to an overnight curfew that varies from region to region as a fourth wave of the virus begins to take its toll.

Travel between different regions is not allowed except for emergency reasons, denying many Spaniards their Easter visits to celebrate with their extended relatives. The restrictions have annoyed some people, especially as visitors from other European countries are allowed to travel to Spain by air or sea as long as they show a negative result for a PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

In Portugal, the Interior Ministry announced that people arriving from countries with an incidence rate of more than 500 cases per 100,000 population over the previous 14 days would have to quarantine for two weeks and could come on essential business only. The quarantine period also applies to people whose journey originated in the UK, Brazil or South Africa.

Portugal was put under a second lockdown in mid-January, and on January 28 it registered a record one-day tally of 16,500 new infections. There has since been a drop in cases, allowing the government to ease restrictions gradually.

In Greece, small retail shops will reopen for business from Monday under so-called click-away and click-in-shop modes, meaning consumers will need to make appointments and comply with a three-hour limit for shopping.

Travel in and out of Germany is theoretically permitted, but travelers have to provide a negative COVID test before boarding an inbound flight, whether the area they are travelling from is classified as a “risk area” or not.

Holiday trips within Germany are discouraged, with hotels across the country only allowed to accommodate travelers for “necessary and expressly non-touristic” purposes, such as people on business trips. The same rule applies to campsites.

Ireland remains under maximum-level pandemic restrictions, with a 5km travel limit and a mandatory 12-day hotel quarantine for travelers from 32 countries deemed high risk.



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