EU Ends Travel Ban on Arrivals From Southern African Countries

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EU Ends Travel Ban on Arrivals From Southern African Countries
EU Ends Travel Ban on Arrivals From Southern African Countries

Africa-Press – Botswana. The European Union has ended the travel ban that was imposed against flights from southern African countries over a month ago.

The ban on southern African countries was introduced in a bid to prevent and control the spread of the Omicron variant within the EU. However, since the Omicron variant now accounts for the majority of infection cases within the Member States, the entry ban has been seen as unnecessary, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The decision to lift the ban against the southern African countries was announced yesterday, on January 10, by the French EU presidency. The latter revealed that all 27 Member States have agreed to lift the travel ban and resume air travel with southern African countries.

Nonetheless, it has been emphasised that travellers from southern African countries will still be subject to other entry measures that apply to other nationals, such as presenting a vaccination or recovery certificate. Some countries also require a negative COVID-19 test that was taken before entry.

Several EU countries removed the travel ban before the decision was made at EU institutions’ level.

The German authorities announced on December 30 that starting from January 4, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa would no longer be part of the virus variant list.

This means that all travellers from the above-mentioned countries can now enter Germany provided that they meet the entry rules.

Norway also abolished the special entry restrictions for arrivals from eight southern African countries back on December 23.

The Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services said that since the Omicron variant is now present in many countries, including Norway, they think it is no longer necessary to keep in place measures that target travellers from these areas.

On December 23, the Netherlands removed the ban too. However, it was emphasised that the affected southern African countries would still be classified as very high-risk areas with a virus variant of concern, meaning that stringent rules will apply to arrivals from southern African countries rather than to those travelling from other countries with a lower Omicron variant risk.

On the same day, the Danish government also ended the travel ban imposed on ten southern African countries. Arrivals from South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Angola, Malawi, and Zambia have been able to enter Denmark since then by presenting a vaccination, recovery, or a negative test certificate.

In line with the official announcement made by the EU authorities, except for the countries mentioned above, the ban will now be automatically removed by the remaining Member States.

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