Europe is once again the epicenter of COVID-19: more restrictions on unvaccinated travelers!

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The number of coronavirus cases has risen again in the European Union and in the Schengen countries, despite high vaccination rates. In the last 24 hours alone, World Health Organization data show that Germany has registered 23.607 new cases, Hungary 21.060, France 12.508, the Netherlands 12.052 and Austria 11.227.

Europe is once again the epicenter of COVID-19

The number of deaths also increased, with Hungary recording the highest number of deaths in 24 hours, with a total of 304 patients dying from complications caused by the virus.

More local restrictions

Amid increasing cases, EU Member States have already begun to impose stricter restrictions on their citizens as well as travel abroad. The Netherlands (Netherlands), for example, has extended the requirement to present a COVID-19 passport to access certain places, plus the obligation to wear masks in public places such as shops and libraries.

In Germany, on the other hand, several states have tightened restrictions. Berlin has announced that only those who are fully vaccinated and those who have recently recovered from COVID-19 will have access to restaurants, cinemas, museums and concerts.

The Austrian government has taken even tougher action, imposing a nationwide lockdown for its two million unvaccinated citizens. "We do not take these measures easily, but unfortunately they are necessary"Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said.

More border restrictions

Some Member States have also tightened border restrictions. Last week, France began asking unvaccinated travelers from 16 EU countries to submit 19-hour COVID-24 tests before arriving in the country. Previously, passengers could present the tests performed within 72 hours.

These countries are Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romaniana, Slovakia and Slovenia.

Similarly, other EU countries and the Schengen area have expanded their lists of insecure countries. Travelers from these states are subject to additional entry requirements.

Germany has added Austria, the Czech Republic and Hungary to its high-risk list. Travelers from these countries should check in, while those who are not vaccinated must be tested for COVID-19 and be quarantined for a period of ten days.

Spain has also added France and three regions of Italy - Basilicata, Lombardy, Piedmont - to its high-risk list, which currently includes almost all EU countries and the Schengen area. Norway, a non-EU Schengen member, has narrowed its list of safe countries, leaving only Spain on it.

In conclusion, travelers who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 need to pay close attention to the changing rules, as sometimes they may be updated shortly. They should always check the test rules as well as the time period they will have to spend in quarantine.

Unvaccinated travelers should also keep in mind that they do not currently have access to bars, restaurants, nightclubs and museums.

Based on data published by ECDC, the countries with the worst situation are: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia and Slovakia. EU countries, however, have some of the highest vaccination rates. According to the ECDC, 64,9% of the continent's population has been completely immunized.

Portugal is the EU country with the highest vaccination rate against COVID-19, as 81,3% of the country's population is fully vaccinated. Other countries with high rates of complete vaccination are also Ireland (75,9%), Iceland (76,5%), Denmark (75,7%). It should be noted, however, that the death rate has fallen sharply in countries where the vaccination rate has exceeded 70%.

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