As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, nations dig deeper to find treatments and precautionary measures to help people get through the global crisis.
A large share of world countries has chosen border closure as the main decision to keep people safe and halt the spread of COVID-19. Moreover, at least 17 Schengen Area countries have imposed internal border controls.
In case that a serious threat to public policy or internal security establishes, the Schengen Borders Code provides all the Member States with the right to temporarily reintroduce border controls, at the internal borders, VisaGuide.World reports.
The temporary reintroduction controls in the context of cases requiring immediate action include 12 Schengen Zone countries: Estonia, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic.
The government of Estonia announced that internal border controls are being applied in all crossing points of the country, from March 17, until April 15, in a bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.
Estonia reintroduced land borders with Latvia, as well as air borders, sea borders from March 17, until March 27, 2020.
Mart Helme, the Estonian Minister of the Interior announced that for those traveling, under these extreme circumstances, besides the passport checks, they will need to submit a health certificate to competent authorities.
538 persons tested positive for the virus in Estonia, so far.
Switzerland decided to tighten border controls by taking preventive measures in the fight against coronavirus.
The country has put in place the land border control with Italy, (March 13- April 12) along with France and Austria (March 16- April 15),
The government of Switzerland announced on March 18, that the entry restriction with Spain will be extended, as well as air traffic from Italy, France, Germany and Austria (March 18- April 17).
Besides, the country has also temporarily stopped the issuance of all visas for at least three months. The decision exempts the family members of Swiss citizens, essential health workers and emergency cases.
Up to 11,000 coronavirus cases are reported in Switzerland, while the number of deaths reached 171.
Belgium remains one of the few countries that kept the borders open until last week.
But, starting from March 20 until March 30, the country has been carrying internal border checks as well.
Along with the border checks, Belgium also decided to temporarily suspend travel for non-essential inbound and outbound travel, Pieter de Crem, Interior Minister highlighted last week.
“Tourist trips to Belgium, in particular, will be banned and border checks will apply henceforth,” the minister pointed out.
The virus has infected 6,235 persons in Belgium, and 220 persons have died, so far.
From March 19, Germany is applying internal border controls to air and boat trips from Austria, Spain, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg, Denmark and Italy, the Federal Interior Ministry of Germany announced. The decision will be in place until March 29.
The Interior Ministry of Germany announced the latest move through a statement published in the official Mistry’s website.
“Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer has extended the temporary border controls to further reduce the risk of infection from the Coronavirus to intra-European air and maritime traffic following today’s decision by the Federal Cabinet”, the statement reads.
Up to this point 39,572 persons have been contracted by SARS-CoV2-2, while 224 persons have died.
As a large number of countries, Austria has also introduced the internal border checks that have been in place from March 18 until April 7.
The land border check has been introduced for Germany, as well as for Italy, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
As yet, in Austria there have been 6,001 cases of persons infected by a coronavirus, while the death toll reached 62.
Austria is in the 13th most-affected country worldwide from coronavirus pandemic.
After Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office of Hungary ordered a state of emergency, Hungary extended its protective measures by introducing internal border checks.
The new internal border controls have been introduced in land and air borders with Austria and Slovenia.
The total number of infections from COVID-19, in Hungary, reached 261.
Spain has introduced land border checks from March 17, which were first set to expire on March 26 but have now been extended.
In a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, Spain’s government decided to go under full lockdown, on March 14 until April 11.
Pedro Sanchez, Prime Minister of Spain said that the country is going through the most difficult moment since the civil war 1936-39.
From coronavirus, Spain has seen the death of 4,089 citizens, while 56,188 persons have been infected.
Spain is the 4 most-affected country from the virus.
From March 16, until March 26, Portugal has reintroduced border controls with Spain, which have now been extended as well.
This decision was taken in a bid to contain the coronavirus, while the country has already reported 3,544 infection cases.
Norway started carrying border checks from March 16 that were set to expire on March 26 but have been extended as well.
The country is facing 3,250 coronavirus cases.
From March 14 Lithuania has introduced all internal border controls.
Authorities in Lithuania have previously declared a nationwide quarantine, closing borders to all foreign countries, with only a few exceptions.
Lithuania also urged its citizens to not travel abroad, as the number of infections within the country is 290.
Poland reintroduced its land, sea and air border controls with Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany, Lithuania, from March 15.
The Czech Republic reintroduced land and air borders with Austria and Germany from March 14 until April 4.
Border Checks in Context of Foreseeable Events
Countries that temporarily reintroduced border controls, in the context of foreseeable events are Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Austria.
- Finland reintroduced all internal borders from March 19 until April 13.
- Norway reintroduced internal border controls for terrorist threats, secondary movements; as well as ports with ferry connections with Denmark, Germany, and Sweden from November 12, 2019, until May 12, 2020
- Sweden reintroduced internal border checks for Terrorist threats, shortcomings at the external borders; to be determined but may concern all internal borders for terrorist threats, shortcomings at the external borders; to be determined but may concern all internal borders, from November 12, 2019, until May 12, 2020.
- Denmark reintroduced all internal border controls from November 12, 2019, until May 12, 2020
- Germany reintroduced internal border controls for secondary movements, the situation at the external borders; land border with Austria, from November 12, 2019, until May 12 2020.
- Austria reintroduced internal border controls for secondary movements, risk related to terrorists and organized crime, the situation at the external borders; land borders with Hungary and with Slovenia, from November 12, 2019, until May 12, 2020.
France reintroduced all internal border checks to the persistent terrorist threat, upcoming high profile political events in Paris, secondary movements, from October 31, 2019, until April 30, 2020.