New rules for movement in the Schengen area during a pandemic

October 17, 2020
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The EU has established uniform rules for movement in the Schengen area during the pandemic
Photo: Adobe Stock
The Council of the European Union approved a unified approach to the management of internal borders during the pandemic. The new regulations set out criteria for the introduction and removal of restrictions on entry into the Schengen countries. A colour designation of countries on a special map of the region has been added, based on the principle of traffic lights. Using the map, you can find out what the epidemiological situation in any of the Schengen countries is now and what conditions apply to visits.

The decision was taken on the basis of the recommendations of the European Commission. It can be found on the official website of the European Union government.

Uniform criteria for assessing the epidemiological situation

Previously, it was up to each state to set its own evaluation criteria, which were the basis on which quarantine and restriction of entry decisions were made. Now the Schengen countries have to assess the epidemiological situation on their territory using 3 criteria.

The registered incidence rate is the total number of newly registered COVID-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. The calculation is made once every 14 days.

Percentage of positive tests in relation to all COVID-19 tests carried out in the last week.

Number of COVID-19 tests conducted per 100,000 inhabitants over the last week.

The country provides information on these indicators to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Single map for the Schengen area countries

В июне 2020 года Евросоюз запустил интерактивную карту региона. Теперь страны Шенгена окрашиваются в определенный цвет в зависимости от эпидемиологической ситуации в стране. Цвет присваивается на основе данных от Европейского центра профилактики и контроля болезней.

Country assessment system by colour

Colour Incidence Positive tests
Green Less than 25 Less than 4%
Orange Less than 50 From 4%
 25 to 150 Less than 4%
Red From 50 From 4%
More than 150
Gray No data or up to 300 tests conducted

The map also provides general information on the possibility of entering and leaving the country. You can view the map on the official website of the European Union government.

Schengen map of countries with epidemiological situation on October 17, 2020
Epidemiological situation in the Schengen countries as of 17 October 2020
Source: Re-open EU

An epidemiological map will help citizens and residents of the European Union and the Schengen to plan their movements. The information is also useful for investors from Russia who are participating in Malta’s citizenship programmes, Malta’s permanent residence permit and Portugal’s residence permit programmes.

A unified approach to travel in the Schengen area

Country governments can only make decisions about imposing or removing restrictions based on colour status. For example, restrictions may relate to a ban on entry into a country or mandatory testing for visitors from certain countries.

Countries are not allowed to impose restrictions on the entry of tourists from green zone countries.

Citizens and residents of states that are marked on the map in any other colour may be obliged by countries:

  • self-isolate and remain in quarantine for a set period;

  • take the COVID-19 test when entering the country;

  • provide an address for temporary residence in the country.

However, the self-insulation requirement will not apply to certain categories of citizens and residents. These include patients of medical institutions entering due to family emergency, passengers on transit flights.

The Schengen countries must notify the other states and the European Commission at least 48 hours in advance of the introduction or removal of restrictions. The changes will be published on the Re-open EU platform 24 hours in advance.

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