EU States Slowing Coronavirus At The Border

Coronavirus patients should not be denied entry but given access to healthcare services

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The EU Commission presented new guidelines to Member States on health-related border management measures in the context of the COVID-19 disease emergency.

Highlights of this guideline include these statements: ‘people who are sick should not be denied entry but given access to healthcare services.’

And, ‘Member States must always admit their own citizens and should facilitate the transit of other EU citizens and residents that are returning home.’

‘However, they can take measures such as requiring a period of self-isolation, if they impose the same requirements on their own nationals.’

The aim of this policy announced on March 17, 2020, is to protect citizens' health, ensure the right treatment of people who do have to travel, and make sure essential goods and services remain available.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “Our measures to contain the Coronavirus outbreak will be effective only if we coordinate on the European level.” 

“It's not only an economic issue: our single market is a key instrument of European solidarity. I am in discussion with all Member States so that we confront this challenge together, as a Union.”

The guidelines set out principles for an integrated approach to an effective border management to protect health while preserving the integrity of the internal market.

People identified as at risk of spreading COVID-19 should have access to appropriate health care, either in the country of arrival or in the country of departure, and this should be coordinated between the two.

It is possible to submit everyone entering the national territory to health checks without formal introduction of internal border controls. 

The difference between normal health checks and border controls is the possibility to deny entry to individual persons. 

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Member States may reintroduce internal border controls for reasons of public policy, which, in extremely critical situations, may include public health. 

Such border controls should be organized to prevent the emergence of large gatherings (e.g. queues), which risk increasing the spread of the virus. 

Member States should coordinate to carry out health screening on just one side of the border.

All border controls should be applied in a proportionate manner and with due regard to people's health. 

Member States should facilitate the crossing of frontier workers, in particular, but not only those working in the health care and food sector, and other essential services (e.g. child care, elderly care, critical staff for utilities).

In the same vein, the safe movement for transport workers, including truck and train drivers, pilots and aircrew is a key factor to ensure adequate movement of goods and essential staff.

No additional certifications should be imposed on goods legally circulating within the EU single market. 

According to the European Food Safety Authority, there is no evidence that food is a source or a transmission source of COVID-19 disease, which is caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. 

COVID-19 outbreak news is published by Coronavirus Today.

International travel alert news is published by Vax-Before-Travel.