(Editor’s note: Multiple expats across Europe contributed information to this post, with Terry Boyd and Andriana Boyrikova doing the majority of the writing. Pandemic measures are aggregated from official government news releases and websites, as well as from media reports.)
Hear that sound? That’s the sound of cities across Europe locking back down to stop the second pandemic wave, which is becoming exponentially worse than the first wave.
We’re adding a new tool developed by Dutch graphic arts and computer specialist Jan Willem Tulp at Den Haag-based Tulp Interactive designed to help you comprehend how fast the number of cases is rising including the number of cases per minute or even per second for 150 countries. You can see Jan Willem’s data visualization tool here.
For a few weeks in June and July, it looked like the COVID-19 pandemic was over in Europe, with countries including Austria, Greece, Ireland and Croatia reporting very low infection rates and days without a coronavirus-linked death. Then sometime in August – in a rough correlation with Europe’s vacation season – countries from Spain to Denmark started reporting a second wave with more cases than the early days of the pandemic.
September was just flat-out terrible, with many countries setting one-day records for coronavirus infections and the trend is continuing in October.
Fortunately, for whatever reasons, this mutation of the virus seems to be less virulent, though scientists attributed the low number of deaths to the fact that most of the positives tests are among young people, who appear more resistant to COVID-19’s most severe symptoms.
The situation is compounded by official uncertainty about what to do to stop this second wave, with governments hesitant to lock down, but relying on much stricter pandemic restrictions. Which is why this post is updated regularly.
You can see the all the trends and graphs here on Worldometer.
The good news is, you’re welcome to go skiing in Austria. The country is investing millions in its tourism sector, which represents a significant percentage – 15 percent – of the Alpine county’s GDP. Just know there will be no après-ski parties as the Austrians struggle to get COVID-19 infections back under control. And as we all know, the pandemic in Europe really got out of control in Europe after people returned from the ski resort of Ischgl. (More than a 1,000 people who caught the virus in the alpine ski resort are suing the Austrian government over its handling of the outbreak.)
Austria went from as few as 17 new cases in 24 hours on 25 May to an historic high of 1,747 new cases in 24 hours on 17 October, about 20-percent more than the 30 March peak of the first wave. Deaths in 24 hours are also rising, with at least 50 deaths in September and now about 100 in October as of the 20th.
Austria is following the Netherlands and the United Kingdom in restricting the number of people allowed at private indoor gatherings. In Austria, the golden numbers are six inside (down from 10 and 12 outside. But organized events can still host up to 1,500 people outdoor and 1,000 in.
However, the six-and-12 rule applies to restaurants and commercial settings “Fundamentally that applies everywhere,” said Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz.
As of 11 September, Kurz reintroduced mandatory face mask rules in all public spaces, supermarkets, shops, government buildings and schools, according the the Voice of America.
They remain mandatory on public transportation.
New anti-coronavirus measures including a 10 p.m. curfew in the tourist states of Tirol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg just in time for ski season to keep skiers from congregating in clubs and bars after a day on the slopes.
There will also be mandatory face coverings on the slopes and in the gondolas.
More countries including Germany are including Vienna and other parts of Austria including the Tyrol on high-risk lists. Germany has also decided to extend border controls with Austria – due expire 11 November – for another six months.
Austrian officials are cautioning citizens not to travel to Croatia as cases spike there though there’s no ban.
Effective 24 August, travellers arriving from the Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) have to carry a medical certificate proving a negative COVID-19 PCR test.
Effective 10 August, Austrian officials issued an alert for Spain that now includes the Balearic islands. Austrians returning from Spain must get Covid-19 tests within 72 hours.
Otherwise, you should check the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection website here to see if there are new restrictions as the situation is changing daily.
Belgium had – until passed by Peru – the dismal distinction of having the highest rate of deaths per million of population – 900 as of 20 October – in the world and about 10,500 deaths since the pandemic began. It has the second-highest rate of infection in Europe behind the Czech Republic.
For the first time in the pandemic, a country’s public health officials have said they’re losing control. The BBC quotes Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke as describing new cases as a “tsunami” where authorities “no longer control what is happening.”
Lost in the media coverage is the core concern that hospitals and healthcare workers will be overwhelmed, which could happen in Belgium as soon as mid-November, according to officials.
As of 20 October, Belgian officials are reporting five times as many cases per day as at the height of the first wave. Belgian public health officials are warning about new infection spikes, with new cases in 24 hours increasing to almost 11,000 on 18 October from 42 on 7 July after a period in June with no new cases. Unlike other countries, deaths every 24 hours also rose, with at about 150 reported in August and about 80 in September. The situation is just getting worse, with about 300 deaths in October as of the 20th.
Most of Belgium is “red” on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control chart indicating infection rates of more than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
As of October, Belgians’ personal bubbles are limited to one contact outside their household. You can host up to four people from outside your family. All bars, cafes and event halls in Brussels have been told they must shut down for at least a month as of 8 October.
Schools are open.
The number of spectators allowed at professional sports events has been cut to 200 people from 400. Food and drink establishments linked to the venue will be closed.
You can see more details on Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès website here.
Look for the rules to be updated on the official government coronavirus page here.
Belgium has launched a travel map with open countries, and countries with travel restrictions, and you can see it here. Travel to countries marked “red” is strongly discouraged, but not forbidden. That said, when returning from a “red zone” (that would be the Netherlands next door) you must quarantine for at least a week.
The Netherlands is restricting residents to only essential travel to Belgium as of 14 October though the border is still open.
As of 29 July, anyone travelling to the Netherlands from the province of Antwerp is required to complete a 10-day quarantine, and in Germany, people returning from Antwerp must get tested for coronavirus. The month of August was a time of dueling travel warnings between Belgium and the rest of Europe. On 25 August, Belgium’s foreign ministry on Wednesday banned travel to Paris amid concerns over a possible resurgence of coronavirus cases in the French capital.
On 19 August, Switzerland added Belgium to its quarantine list.
As of 14 August, Belgians are banned from going to Malta, parts of Spain and most of Romania as they have become “red travel zones.” You can see more detail here.
On 7 August, the UK added Belgium to its list of countries British citizens are discouraged from visiting for anything other than essential travel.
After two months of shutdown, Belgium officials reopened borders 15 June with the UK and Schengen countries including Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
As of 20 October, there have been about 26,000 confirmed cases and 374 deaths in Croatia. In May, it appeared the pandemic was over in this Adriatic country, with Croatia escaping largely unaffected, especially compared to Italy and Spain.
But about 1 million tourists poured into the country during July and August. Unlike most countries in the EU, Croatia allowed tourist from the US and other countries, with predictable results. The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that for the week of Aug. 10 to 16, there was a 174 percent increase in the rate of infections compared to the week prior.
In short, no country in Europe – not even Spain – saw cases rise so dramatically as hundreds of thousands of tourists poured into Croatia.
July was a tough month, with daily new cases rising steadily in a second wave, peaking at 140 on 11 July, then receding to 28 on 6 August. Then Croatia had a third, far more severe wave, with an historic peak of 1,131 new cases reported on 16 October. That’s 10 times the number of cases in 24 hours of 96 on 1 April, the peak of the first wave.
As in Austria and other countries with new coronavirus spikes, there hadn’t been a corresponding rise in deaths, with about 35 deaths in August and 80 for September. That’s changed, as well. On 11 September, the country recorded 7 deaths in 24 hours, the highest since the pandemic began. There have been about 100 deaths so far in October as of the 20th.
This Balkan country imposed among the strictest coronavirus measures in the world, according to a study by Oxford University. As a result, the country’s leaders are trying to salvage the summer tourist season, which accounts for about 20 percent of Croatia’s GDP.
As of late September, that second wave is receding with the end of the tourist season.
On 12 October, Croatia introduced mandatory use of face masks in closed spaces as new infections rise. Events with more than 50 people are now required to get a permit from local authorities at least five days in advance.
Masks are mandatory for healthcare workers, hospital visitors, drivers and passengers on public transport, customers and store employees and “employees in the hospitality business who are in contact with guests or participate in serving and preparing meals and beverages,” according to the Croatian Institute of Public Health.
Croatia has lifted its internal travel rules. Here’s the official Croatian government page.
As of 4 September, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Slovenia placed Croatia or Croatian regions on their quarantine lists. Croatia has been on the UK’s and Slovenia’s quarantine list since 20 August.
Border restrictions ended the final week of May. On May 29, Croatia opened to tourists from almost everywhere including the United States, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary and Austria.
In June and July, media outlets such as the Financial Times were abuzz with posts about Denmark being “the first to close – first to reopen.” It didn’t last.
With a spike in August, Denmark, started requiring face masks on all public transport.
In September, the country experienced a major spike, reporting an average of about 400 new cases per day for the month and a spike of 678 new cases on 25 September, by far the most since the pandemic began. That second wave has receded to an average of about 350 new cases every 24 hours in October. There were a total of eight deaths reported in August and 17 in September. That rate is increasing as Denmark reports about 41 deaths for October as of the 20th.
That said, data shows that even with the pandemic, Denmark has – so far in 2020 – recorded the lowest death rate in the past six years.
With cases rising, Danish leaders are assuring the nationa there will be no return to a March 11-style rigid shutdown. “It was the right thing to do back then. It wouldn’t be the right thing to do again,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told TV2 on 10 September.
But on 18 September, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen lowered the limit on public gatherings to 50 people from 100, and bars and said restaurants close at 10 p.m. effective 19 September through 31 October.
Nightclubs and discos won’t be allowed to open until 31 October at the earliest.
Face masks are required on public transport and taxi, and are also required in airports and on flights. For full information on this and more, visit the Danish Health Authority pages.
As of 26 September, Iceland, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Slovenia have been added to Denmark’s high-risk countries list, with non-essential travel there is discouraged.
Danes are also discouraged from traveling to Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland, due to spikes in new COVID-19 cases in those countries. And anyone traveling to Denmark from those countries is required to quarantine for 10 days.
Non-essential travel is also discouraged to to Andorra, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, France, Hungary, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Romania and Spain.
As of September 3, the authorities have relaxed Denmark’s border control at all entry points to the country for faster entrance into the country.
In August, Denmark dropped requirements that tourist must show documentation of a 6-night booking. But Danes are advised not to travel to Belgium.
As of 27 June, Denmark reopened borders with the EU and Schengen area. BUT, only travelers from countries recording fewer than 20 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants per week can enter Denmark. Here’s the full list as of 24 June, which includes France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.
On 1 July, Denmark reopened borders to selected third countries as determined by the EU Council including Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and Thailand. And they must be able to prove they’ve book at least six nights in Denmark.
As of late October, France is No. 2 in Europe in terms of total coronavirus cases behind Spain, with more restrictions as the situation grows dire. As of 20 October, France reports 515 deaths per million of population, behind Sweden, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Italy … and now the US.
France has reached 250 infections per every 100,000 in population and 90 percent of intensive care beds could be filled by the end of October, with another lockdown possible. Still, the number of patients hospitalized remains below the pandemic peak last April.
In early July, the situation in France was looking very favorable with the rate of infections plummeting, along with COVID-19-related deaths. But France, like so many countries in Europe, is seeing a huge increase in infection rates with an average of about 20,000 new cases every 24 hours in late October, up from 115 on 24 May. That includes a spike of about 32,427 new cases on 17 October, by far the worst day since the pandemic began.
As in other countries in Europe, daily deaths had remained relatively low compared to the first wave – about 260 in August. Now, deaths in France are spiking with spike of 178 deaths on 16 October, the highest one-day rate since May, and with about 1,320 for September. As of 20 October, there have been about 1,500 deaths. French hospital administrators are cancelling scheduled procedures to make way for a projected wave of COVID-19 patients.
Santé Publique France officials said that between 14 and 20 September, there was a 25-percent rise in new COVID-19 deaths in hospitals and nursing homes. The number of new hospital admissions rose by 34 percent and new intensive care admissions by 40 percent.
In France, about 20 million French people are restricted by a month-long curfew in cities including Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse. The curfew runs from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. the next morning and officials have said they’ll announce more pandemic measures on 25 October.
With 203 coronavirus clusters, Paris officials ordered all bars starting 6 October. Bars, gyms and swimming pools will all be closed for two weeks in a bid to curb the spread of the virus, according to the BBC. Restaurants remain open, but with limited service and additional rules.
With a rise in cases, France has implemented a compulsory mask rule for Paris effective 28 August. The mask requirement includes the inner Paris ring of Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine and Val-de-Marne.
France also announced on 25 July it would test all arriving travelers from 16 countries with high rates of infection. You can see the details here. So far, that has not included a quarantine for people coming from the UK.
• Public gatherings are limited to 10 people – with the exception of protests (this is France) or funerals.
• Face masks are mandatory on all public transportation.
Despite all this, schools remain open.
On 13 August, the UK issued a snap announcement it would require all people arriving from France to quarantine for 14 days, triggering huge lines at port of entries by more than 160,000 British tourists rushing to beat the 4 a.m. 15 August deadline.
As of 1 August, people arriving in France from 16 countries must now undergo testing upon arrival at airports and ports:
The United States, United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Panama, South Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, Israel, Brazil, Peru, Serbia, Algeria, Turkey, Madagascar, India and Oman.
Borders reopened 15 June with the EU and Switzerland with no restrictions or quarantines as of 10 July.
Germany has the fifth largest number of coronavirus infections in Europe but one of the lower death rates at 118 per million in population as of 20 October. (Compare that to Belgium at 900.) The New York Times has an in-depth post about Germany’s scientific, data-driven approach.
New deaths per 24 hours dipped to single digits on 20 July and new cases as low as 138 per day on 12 July, so German officials reopened almost everything including the country’s bars and restaurants and even eliminated all Schengen Area border controls. (That said, each of the 16 states have the authority to make their own local rules. You can see the federal rules here.)
But starting in August, Germany is on alert for a trend in rising cases, with about 8,000 new cases in 24 hours reported on 16 October, the highest number since the pandemic hit. There were more than 90 total deaths reported in August, with at least 165 deaths in September. There have been about 200 deaths reported in October as of the 20th.
Dispatches staffers were in Düsseldorf on 10 October just in time to see a small anti-mask demonstration through the Königsallee commercial center. But for the most part, people were observing mask and distancing rules in shops, restaurants and public spaces.
Officials are pumping billions of euros into the post-pandemic recover – 130 billion to be precise, as well as billions to create a vaccine. The effort includes cutting the VAT to 16 percent from 19 percent, giving families 300 euros per child and doubling the government rebate so everyone will now buy a (German-made) electric car.
Finally, 50 billion euros of the total go to fixing climate change and encouraging digitization and innovation.
DW has a post about the confusing patchwork of rules including “accomodation bans” that state residents from certain cities with high infection rates are banned from staying in hotels in other cities … but not everywhere in Germany. And Bavaria, of the 16 states, has the strictest rules.
For the first time in 70 years, Berlin is getting a nighttime curfew. Starting 10 October, bars, restaurants and off-licences will close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. Private gatherings of more than 10 people, will also be banned.
A ban on large gatherings in Germany – such as public festivals, sporting events with spectators and concerts – has been extended to the end of the year. Football teams play without fans in closed stadiums.
As of late September, face masks are still compulsory on public transport, in shops and at schools. Nearly all 16 German states make face coverings mandatory when shopping, according to the BBC.
Germany’s ban on large gatherings won’t end until 31 December. So no big concerts, music festivals or Formula One races. Not only is Oktoberfest off, Munich officials are considering limiting beer sales. That said, Germany’s theme parks and water parks are open for the summer.
If infection rates surge with the reopening, the country will have to go back to a lockdown, Chancellor Angela Merkel and other officials have warned.
Germany has also decided to extend border controls with Austria – due expire 11 November – for another six months and there are fears the country will close its border with Switzerland.
The situation is changing all the time and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website seems to be updated fairly frequently. But if you live in an EU country, you can go to Germany. That said, there are some ground rules.
Anyone coming to Germany from risk areas must be tested for coronavirus on entry and placed in quarantine until the test results are known.
Luxembourg residents can only cross the German border with a negative coronavirus test which must not be more than 48 hours old. Also on the list of high-risk countries and regions are several French departments, and the Belgian region around Brussels.
Just about the time Austria was giving the all-clear to skiing (though not après-ski parties) Germany was putting its neighbor on a red-zone list.
Robert Koch Health Institute now includes Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, and the Austrian Tyrol region on its extended its list of high-risk travel destinations.
Germany has rated regions in 11 European countries as high-risk areas in including Wales and Northern Ireland, Pays de la Loire and Burgundy and the entirety of Belgium and Iceland, advising against all but essential travel there. (It also gives Germans an option to cancel travel without penalties.)
Germany classifies an area as high-risk and issues a travel warning if the number of new coronavirus infections exceeds the mark of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
On the bright side, as of 1 October, Germany lifted its general travel warning for a total of 160 countries outside the EU, with each country now assessed individually, according to the Guardian.
Germany requires arrivals from Spain — except the Canary Islands — as well as countries in the Balkans including Croatia to self-isolate for 14 days.
German authorities announced that effective 8 August, travelers from Spanish regions of Aragón, Catalonia and Navarre must take a coronavirus test upon entering the country.
With a total of 520 deaths as of 20 October, Greece has been touted as a model for how to deal with pandemics. Greece reported nine coronavirus deaths for the entire month of July and new daily cases had been in the low double-digits until the end of July.
But as with every other country in Europe, the number of coronavirus cases started climbing in late July, with a spike of 503 on 16 October, more than three times higher than Greece’s previous historic pandemic high of 156 new cases on 21 April. Initially there was not a corresponding rise in deaths, with about 40 in August and 122 in September, though that represents 36 percent of the total. But now there have been about 121 deaths so far in October as of the 20th, with double-digit spikes.
Still, Greece has one of Europe’s lower rates of death per million of population at 50.
This second wave wasn’t unexpected. Greek officials stated they expected as many as 5,000 “imported cases” this summer. And to top it all off, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands were busted during a vacation in Greece, photographed with a Greek restaurateur … and no masks or social distancing.
The Greek government took the health threat posed by COVID-19 very seriously with a lockdown that lasted six weeks. Cafés and restaurants reopened 1 June. Greece opened cafés for outdoor service as of late May.
But face masks are still mandatory in crowded spaces and on public transportation. The government also indefinitely suspended all religious processions and bazaars.
It also extended a ban on standing customers in all bars, clubs, restaurants and live music venues until the end of August. But on 4 October, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated a second lockdown is “almost inconceivable.”
Greece just extended travel restrictions until 25 October.
- Flights between Greece and Catalonia in Spain remain suspended
- Flights between Greece and Turkey remain suspended
- Flights between Greece and Albania and North Macedonia will continue to operate through the Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos only, until October 25.
- All passengers travelling to Greece from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Albania and Northern Macedonia must provide a negative Covid-19 test result on arrival and the test cannot be older than 72 hours prior to their arrival.
- Passengers arriving from Israel and Russia must provide a negative Covid-19 test no older than 72 hours.
- Only citizens of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates are allowed to visit Greece from outside the European Union.
Italy is now testing all arrivals from Greece and it’s looking like the UK could add Greece to its quarantine list.
As of August 12, travelers from Malta have to present proof of a negative molecular test (PCR) result for Covid-19 taken no more than 72 hours before.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
For a few weeks, Ireland replaced Denmark and Greece as Europe’s coronavirus success story. Then it all fell apart and Ireland is now in lock-down mode for the next six weeks.
Back in May, Ireland reported days with no COVID-19-related deaths in 24 hours, the first time since 25 March. Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan said the Republic had “suppressed COVID-19 as a country,” according to the BBC. Of course as we now know, that was premature.
As of 14 October, Ireland has about 51,000 confirmed cases and 1,852 deaths.
Daily cases dropped to zero with zero deaths in 24 hours on 28 June from a peak of about 1,500 new cases and 220 deaths on 20 April. Since then, there’s been a slow uptick, with a 18 October spike of 1,283 new cases in 24 hours. From 7 August to 1 October, Ireland reported only 22 deaths, all in September. But as of 20 October, there have been 38 deaths reported for the month.
On 19 October, Irish officials announced another lockdown and acknowledged it’s the strictest in Europe.
Residents are asked:
- to stay at home. People should work from home unless providing an essential service for which their physical presence is required (see below for essential services)
- people will be permitted to exercise within a 5-kilometer-radius of 5 of their home and you can meet up with one other household outside your home to exercise.
- there will be a penalty for movement outside the 5-kilometer radius, with exemptions for essential work and essential purposes
- there should be no visits to other people’s homes or gardens
Schools and construction sites are open as are essential stores. But masstran is operating at 25-percent capacity. And to show you how serious this is, religious services are online only! In Ireland ….
The list is much, much longer and you can see all the detail here.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all cruise ship travel. Anyone coming into the Republic of Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, will be required to either restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. This includes Irish residents. Essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots, and maritime staff are exempt. There are no entry restrictions to Ireland at present.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all cruise ship travel. Anyone coming into the Republic of Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, will be required to either restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. This includes Irish residents. Essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots, and maritime staff are exempt. There are no entry restrictions to Ireland at present.
The end of April and beginning of May was a period of dramatic recovery for Italy, with infection rates and deaths dropping and recoveries rising. Italian officials announced Italy is back open as of 3 June.
But as with almost every country on this list, Italy is seeing a sustained second COVID-19 wave … a wave that really hit at the beginning of October. In September, there was an average of 1,500 cases per day. Now Italy is averaging about 5,500 new coronavirus cases every 24 hours for the month as of 20 October, with a spike of 11,704 cases on 18 October. That’s double the rate at the worst part of the first wave in March.
The total death rate remained relatively low at 94 for the month of August and the Lancet medical journal states that coronavirus was under control as recently as May, with no excess deaths. But Italy recorded about 300 deaths in September, the worst month since June, but there have been about 700 deaths so far in October as of the 20th.
The Lombardy region is planning to go back to a lockdown as of 22 October. That includes a curfew for non-essential activity between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Large shops will shutter on Saturdays and Sundays.
Lombardy, which includes the financial center of Milan, accounts for about 128,400 of the over 423,500 coronavirus cases detected in Italy since the pandemic hit Italy last February, according to swissInfo.ch.
As of 1 October, authorities ordered all dance venues and nightclubs closed down again. As of 7 October, masks are are mandatory outdoors and suggested indoors when hosting friends.
Other rules include:
• closing time for restaurants and bars is now set at midnight, and after 9 p.m. it will be mandatory to be seated Clients are not allowed to stand inside or outside while consuming food or drinks.
• ballrooms and clubs remain closed, while in sports amateur group activities are going to be suspended.
• stadiums will stay open, though with capacity limited to 15 percent, and a maximum of 1,000 people in outdoor arenas and 200 people indoors.
• schools are open but students school trips are suspended.
Italy’s current rise in coronavirus cases is attributed to residents recently returned home vacations in Spain, Peru, Malta, Croatia and Greece, according to officials. But it is still on the UK’s list of approved destinations.
Still, you have to self-isolate for 14 days as you enter Italy from any country outside Europe.
In August, Italy introduced compulsory testing upon arrival for people coming from Spain, Malta and Croatia and later added large parts of France, the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
COVID-19 PCR test is required within 72 hours of arrival for people coming from:
On 9 July, Italy barred visitors from 13 countries:
Armenia, Bahrein, Bangladesh, Brazil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.
Otherwise, internal and external borders are open as of 3 June, along with with travel to and from Italy. Italy joined the rest of the EU in going all in on the 15 June date.
As of 14 October, the country has reported about 9,840 confirmed cases and 133 deaths. From mid-March into early April, Luxembourg had one of the highest infection rates in the world, but got the situation under control quickly. Luxembourg began easing coronavirus restrictions on Monday, 20 April along with an order that the public cover their mouths when entering confined spaces such as public transport or shops.
Luxembourg saw one of Europe’s fastest recoveries and was the first major economy in Western Europe to go consecutive days with no coronavirus deaths, recording zero deaths since 24 May. It even shut off its COVID-19 hotline on 13 June.
Now, Luxembourg is experiencing a relatively mild second wave of infections, with a spike of 242 new coronavirus cases within a 24-hour period on 18 October. There were only four total deaths in July and 10 in August. There were no coronavirus-related deaths recorded between 17 August and 1 October, but that streak ended with 15 deaths as of 20 October.
Luxembourgish officials stated on 17 October that they will not impose new measures even though the infection rates are rising.
On 16 July, Luxembourg approved new measures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus including:
- Masks are mandatory for gatherings of more than 20 people in both public and private settings, if physical distance of two meters cannot be guaranteed while remaining seated. (This rule does not apply to markets.)
- Citizens will only be allowed to invite a maximum of 10 people into their homes.
- The requirement for customers in bars and restaurants to be seated (maximum of 10 people per table) will continue. Customers and owners may be fined if not in compliance.
- Face masks are still mandatory on all public transport and in indoor public places. Children under the age of six are exempted.
On 25 September, Germany put Luxembourg back on a travel blacklist. Anyone entering Germany has to provide a negative COVID-19 test or quarantine for two weeks.
A negative coronavirus test must not be more than 48 hours old. Also on the list of high-risk countries and regions are several French departments, and the Belgian region around Brussels.
Luxembourg’s borders with neighbors are open but as of 30 July, arrivals from Luxembourg to the UK must self-isolate for 14 days. On 14 July, Germany has declared Luxembourg a risk zone and advises against all non-essential travel.
As of 12 August, anyone traveling to the Grand-Duchy from most non-EU countries will have to present a negative test for Covid-19 taken no later than 48 hours before the flight.
Netherlands has, like Sweden, adopted a tribal immunity approach, but with restrictions so the health care system was never overloaded with COVID-19 cases.
That didn’t work, to say the least, and now the country is instituting a partial lockdown as cases, coronavirus hospital admissions and deaths rise.
Starting in late July, the country has a severe second wave that just keeps getting worse, with almost 8,200 cases in 24 hours on 18 October, up from as few as 36 cases in early July and almost 700-percent higher than the previous pandemic peak of 1,300 cases in 24 hours on 10 April.
None of this is a surprise. Dutch health officials predicted in September that the Netherlands could see as many as 5,000 cases per 24 hours and they were wildly optimistic.
A lot of this is due the rate of testing increasing 10-fold. Unlike the UK, the Netherlands has no shortages of COVID-19 testing kits or healthcare personnel. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge has said he hopes to have the testing capacity increased to 70 thousand per day by end October.
Deaths have increased as well. The Netherlands recorded 62 deaths for the month of August. That more than doubled to about 150 total for September, then tripled to about 450 deaths reported in the first three weeks of October.
The Netherlands, where Dispatches Media is based, is the ultimate “whatever” country with no significant pandemic restrictions. During a 19 September trip to Rotterdam, we noted (a few) more people wearing masks and most people were sort of social-distancing.
That all changed on 12 October, with Den Haag issuing a new set of near-lockdown rules. (See below.)
One of the biggest problems at the moment is that hospitals ICUs are starting to fill up again, and apparently, the supply of anti-viral drug Remdesivir have run out, according to Financieele Dagblad.
The Netherlands has had Europe’s most dramatic rise in coronavirus infection rates, with cases in the second week of October rising 60 percent over the previous week.
So on 12 October, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced a partial lockdown that will last eight weeks and includes closing restaurants and bars. Restaurants and café are still allowed to continue carry-out service. Dutch residents must wear masks indoors in public spaces, at supermarkets and in stores.
Rules include a limit of three visitors in home homes (not counting children under 13). These rules apply both indoors and outdoors (balconies and gardens) and went into effect as of 19 August, then were renewed on 28 September.
Rutte said earlier suggestions are still in place: Dutch residents should work from home as much as possible, workout alone, shop for groceries alone, keep the 1.5 meter distance from others and self-isolate at any sign of illness.
Cinemas and museums also reopened 1 June and also with attendance limits … and again, it’s wise to check to see if you need to reserve a spot as we did recently at the Mauritshuis in Den Haag.
As of 15 August, the Netherlands is on the UK’s quarantine list, with all arrivals isolating for 14 days. Brits arriving in the Netherlands do not face quarantine.
- Austria: Innsbruck and Vienna
- Belgium: the city of Antwerp, Brussels-Capital Region, provinces of Liège and Walloon Brabant
- Czech Republic
- Denmark: city of Copenhagen and the city of Odense
- France: Paris, the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-et-Marne, Essonne, Val-d’Oise, Yvelines, Sarthe, Rhône, Gironde, Haute-Garonne, Gard, Var, Vaucluse, Hérault, Alpes-Maritimes and Loiret, Côte-d’Or, Seine-Maritime, Nord, Corse-du-Sud, Haute Corse, l’Ain, Ille-et-Vilaine, Isère, Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Pas-de-Calais, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrénées-Orientales, Tarn-et-Garonne, Aveyron, Bas-Rhin, Haute-Marne, Indre-et-Loire, Landes, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Seine-Maritime, Tarn, Vienne, Ariège, Aube, Charente, Doubs, Gers, Haute Loire, Haues-Pyrénées, Haute Vienne, Oise, Somme and Saône et Loire.
- Greece: all Greek islands. The Peloponnese and the Greek mainland are excluded.
- Hungary: Budapest
- Portugal: Area Metropolitana de Lisboa and Leziria do Tejo
- St Maarten
- Spain, including the Balearic Islands of Majorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera and the Canary Islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa among others.
- Switzerland: Cantons of Geneva, Freiburg and Vaud
A covid testing station is in place at Schiphol Airport to test both arrivals and departures. If you test positive upon arrival, or refuse testing, you’ll be required to quarantine for 14 days, though just who enforces this is not clear.
Otherwise, all border are open as of 18 June. Tourists from EU or Schengen countries are welcome, anyone coming from the UK “is strongly advised to go into quarantine for 14 days.” However, the Netherlands has lifted the quarantine requirement for Sweden.
Unlike Sweden next door, Norway instituted strict coronavirus measures on 12 March, the strictest since World War II. As a result, researchers there were no “excess deaths” – deaths above the expected number, based on previous years – in Norway during the first wave of the pandemic. During that time, 90 percent of coronavirus deaths happened among people with underlying conditions.
The big news in October is that Norway will make vaccines free to citizens.
With intense testing of hundreds of thousands of residents and a small population, Norway has recorded about 16,600 cases and 278 deaths as of 20 October. New cases recorded in 24 hours averaged about 150 for October in a persistent second wave, which saw a 7 October spike of 228 cases in 24 hours. There were nine deaths recorded during the month of August, 10 in September and four so far in October.
Amateur team sports return as of mid-October and the maximum number of spectators allowed at outdoors matches will rise to 600 from 200. Also, bars will be allowed to sell alcohol past midnight.
It wasn’t until 14 August that Norwegian authorities required people to wear face masks while using public transportation in and around Olso after a second wave of infections and deaths. Sure enough, that wave has already plateaued as of 1 October.
Nearly everything had been closed, but Norway started relaxing its rules in early May and some schools and businesses are reopening. Pro sports are also back. Social distancing is still enforced.
As of 19 September, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is advising against any trip to Estonia, the region of Southern Savonia in Finland and to the regions Zealand and North Jutland in Denmark.
Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urges citizens to avoid non-essential travel to:
Belgium, Andorra, Bulgaria, France, Estonia, Ireland, Greece, Iceland, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Monaco, the Netherlands, Malta, Portugal, Poland, San Marino, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom, Spain, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Vatican City State, and parts of Sweden, Denmark and Finland.
As of 27 August, Norway imposed a 10-day quarantine on everyone arriving from the Germany and Lichtenstein, which are added to a list that includes the UK, Austria, Greece and the Republic of Ireland.
From 25 July, Spain is code “red,” with anyone arriving in Norway from there required to self-isolate for 10 days. Other “red” countries include France, Switzerland, Portugal, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria and Luxembourg,
Norwegian officials reopened its borders 15 July to EU and EEA countries and even Sweden. Officials have announced all countries that were previously marked green on the travel advisory have now been marked yellow after increased infections in several of the “green countries”.
The border with Russia is likely to remain closed at least until the end 2020.
Portugal, along with Denmark and Greece, came through the first months of the coronavirus with flying colors. Business Insider has a post about how Portugal shares a border with Spain but has a COVID-19 death toll 30 times lower.
But after a low of 98 new cases reported on 11 May, Portugal has a severe second wave with daily confirmed new cases are averaging more than 800 per day in September into October, with a peak of 2,608 on 16 October. There were a total of about 70 deaths in August and about 125 in September. There have been about 230 deaths for this month as of 20 October with the number of deaths every 24 hours trending higher at about 20.
Restaurants and bars in many regions reopened 18 May, but with capacity limits. Some hotels in the Algarve are opened. About 80 percent of students in the last two years of high school are back in school and daycares are open.
Portugal is under a “state of calamity.” (No idea ….) Gatherings are limited to five people and restaurants, bars and café can stay open no later than 11 p.m. A ban on festivals and big events is in place until the end of the year.
But masks still aren’t compulsory in public places.
In the first part of the pandemic, there was a state of emergency, but no official lockdown in Portugal requiring people to have permission to go for essentials such as grocery shopping. Unlike in Italy, residents were allowed to be outside provided they maintain social distancing and that they only go out when absolutely necessary.
A state of emergency was lifted on 2 May and Spanish tourism officials have tried to reopen tourism beginning with the Algarve region, but the UK and other countries placing Portugal on quarantine lists hasn’t helped.
Shopping resumed 1 June though Portuguese officials delayed malls opening in Lisbon till 4 June after new coronavirus hotspots appeared.
A number of countries including the UK have Portugal on their “red lists,” requiring new arrivals quarantine. Anyone arriving in Scotland from Portugal must quarantine for 14 days, with more restrictions on the way.
Portugal ended flight restrictions to destinations outside the Schengen Area on 15 June.
The land border with Spain opened 1 July, which is when flights from Spain and Italy resumed. But as noted above, Portugal remains on the UK’s list of countries from where arrivals must quarantine for 14 days.
After an impressive recovery, Spain is back in trouble, struggling with a new wave of infections that beginning to exceed rates in the early days of the pandemic. Since the third week of July, the number of new cases every 24 hours has averaged about 6,000 with a spike of more than 14,000 cases on 18 September though that wave seems to be receding as of late October. There has also been a rise in hospitalizations and a spike in deaths, with than 2,000 deaths in September and 261 reported in 24 hours on 6 October alone. There have been about 2,000 deaths reported for the first three weeks of October.
The Guardian reported 25 August that the the 14-day infection rate to 166 per 100,000, compared with 67 in France and 22 in the UK.
As a result, Spain replaced the UK in August as the European country with the most coronavirus cases, about 1 million to about 741,000 as of 20 October.
Spanish officials concede data collection is so flawed that no one really knows how many new cases and deaths are occurring daily. But things have gotten bad enough Spain has introduced new restrictions in Madrid (see below), the center of the new outbreak. Daily cases in the whole of Spain are averaging 7,500 every 24 hours, with peaks of more than 11,000 on 18 September and 30 September.
Health policy is set by Spain’s 17 regional governments, meaning each administration sets its own course and Catalonia (Barcelona) closed all restaurants and bars starting 16 October.
Aragon has introduced capacity limits at bars and restaurants and banned the sale of alcohol in shops between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m.
At least 22 other municipalities across Spain have also have new restrictions including the entire cities of León and Palencia in Castile-León region.
Spanish federal authorities are implementing a new lockdown in parts of Madrid. Under the latest restrictions, residents in nine areas will not be allowed to leave locked-down areas unless they have an emergency or essential or official business. Social gatherings will be limited to six people and restrictions on hours and capacities are also being imposed on hotels, churches/mosques/temples and shops. (Local officials are not pleased.)
More than 850,000 residents are under the new lockdown, according to the BBC.
Social gatherings are reduced to six people and public parks are closed. Capacity at stores and other commercial establishments is set at 50 percent and closing time is 10 p.m. with the exception of pharmacies and petrol stations.
El Pais in English has the granular neighborhood-by-neighborhood break down of the sections – termed basic health areas – of Madrid affected.
As of the end of August, Spanish officials reopened schools, closed since March, in September. You can see the full set of rules here on El Pais in English. Those rules include face masks for all children 6 years old and older.
On 4 September, a number of new rules went into effect in Madrid to try and stop the rise in Covid-19 infections including:
• an existing ban on outdoor meetings of more than 10 people is being extended indoors because most recent infections have been tied to gatherings in private homes.
• attendance at funerals, burials, weddings and religious celebrations, as well as group visits to museums or guided tourism is limited.
On 9 July, Catalonia made face masks mandatory. This came after 200,000 people in the Segria area were placed under lockdown following coronavirus outbreaks there.
Masks were already required in public where social distancing is impossible: “Using masks will be compulsory on the street, in open spaces and any closed place of public use, when it is not possible to maintain a safe distance of at least two metres,” according to new law.
Just which area is in which phase is complicated, with different regions in different phases. You can see the latest information on the Ministry of Health website here.
On 28 July UK officials abruptly reintroduced quarantine measures on Brits returning from Spain, infuriating their Spanish counterparts, Britain’s struggling airlines and Spanish hoteliers trying to salvage the 2020 vacation season.
The Dutch followed suit on 23 August, recommending only essential travel to Spain.
As of 14 October the country had reported about 103,000 confirmed coronavirus case, 5,918 deaths … and for awhile, a flattening of the trend lines. Then Sweden, like every other country in Europe, entered a second COVID-19 wave.
On 7 August, daily new cases dropped to about 41, but the average for September into October was about 450 new cases every 24 hours. Sweden recorded as few as 106 new cases on 13 September before the infection rate spiked to 970 on 14 October. Sweden recorded about 36 total deaths in August, 35 for September and 26 for the first three weeks of October.
Sweden chose to protect its economy rather than its population … and that approach is working, with Sweden in better economic shape than the rest of Europe, according to Goldman Sachs.
Every major media outlet in the world has parsed the Swedish approach, which resulted in more infections and deaths that in neighboring Scandinavian countries, but fewer than in countries that had lockdowns such as Italy and Spain.
As of September, media outlets were wondering if Sweden had it right all along. However, Sweden’s libertarian fans never seem to take into consideration the billions it spends on its social welfare network including healthcare as an element in its pandemic success.
With cases rising in mid-October, officials are considering restrictions and might even allow localities to institute their own independent of the national government. Earlier, the national government had raised the limit for public events to 500 people from 50 in venues with assigned seats and provisions for social distancing.
So far, the country’s leaders have relied on collective action and Swedish citizens practicing voluntary social distancing by choice. They were instructed to use their judgment, and to take individual responsibility rather than top-down control. Sweden left its schools, gyms, cafes, bars, and restaurants open throughout the pandemic. Instead, the government has urged citizens to act responsibly and follow social distancing guidelines.
Sweden has opted for a calmer – and highly controversial – approach led by the state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell. Instead of draconian lockdown, social distancing is a matter of self-regulation, according to the Guardian.
According to Bloomberg News, analysts believe that in refusing to close down businesses, the Swedish economy could have an easier time rebounding economically than countries that have shuttered businesses completely. However, Denmark’s “pigs and pills” (pharmaceuticals and agriculture) economy is in better shape than Sweden’s, with its heavy reliance on the auto sector, aviation and precision manufacturing.
The UK and Finland have lifted quarantine requirements for people arriving from Sweden, though both countries recommend against non-essential travel there. Now, the UK is on the verge of reinstituting its quarantine requirement for Sweden.
Sweden had only had restrictions on some non-EU citizens, but that’s changing.
People from the following non-EU countries are allowed to travel to Sweden as of 15 August:
- EU/EEA, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Switzerland, Vatican City
- New Zealand
- South Korea
More EU countries including Germany are welcoming Swedes and dropping their coronavirus quarantine requirements.
Partly due to its proximity to early virus hotspots in Northern Italy, the COVID-19 pandemic had a fast and furious effect on this Alpine country. The Swiss instituted nation-wide rules relatively late in the game, with schools closed and and gatherings of more than 100 banned.
Swiss officials – acting on the recommendation of epidemiologists – are saying there likely won’t be any big events until 2021. That’s the bad news. There really isn’t any good news as Switzerland’s 7-day rolling average daily new infection number jumped from 632 from 312 in the first week of October.
Switzerland has reported new wave of daily cases rising to 1,487 on 9 October from 35 cases on 29 June with increasing hospital admissions. There were about 22 deaths in August, about 70 in September and about 32 so far in October.
On 18 October, federal authorities announced new pandemic measures that supercede local rules, limiting public gatherings to 15 people and requiring masks in all indoor public places including shops, banks, churches and cinemas.
An order to wear masks on public transport has been extended to cover train stations, airports, bus and tram stops across all of Switzerland.
As of 1 October, concerts, football matches, conferences and other large-scale public and private events can host up to 1,000 people, but those people must be masked up and seated.
Switzerland had a pretty tight shutdown, especially in cantons bordering Italy. Most Swiss returned to work – including sex workers – in June. Tourism with neighboring countries has restarted.
Starting Monday, 28 September, Switzerland will require people arriving from the Netherlands to self-quarantine for 10 days. Also effective 28 September, people arriving from Brittany (France), Liguria (Italy), Upper and Lower Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Ecuador, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Jamaica, Luxembourg, Morocco, Nepal, Oman, Portugal, Slovenia and the United Kingdom must self-quarantine.
Switzerland has imposed a 10-day quarantine on people arriving from nine of 13 French regions, including Île-de-France around Paris. Travellers coming from Vienna also must quarantine. Spain was already on the list, which you can see here.
On 11 September 2020, Switzerland announced that people entering Switzerland after spending time in regions next to the country’s national borders will be exempted from mandatory quarantine requirements even if those regions have high infection rates. Cross-border worker are already exempted from quarantine requirements.
People entering Switzerland from 55 nations must now quarantine for 10 days. These include Croatia and San Marino in Europe. On 7 September 2020, 8 nations were removed from the list including Belgium and Luxembourg.
Not much nothing has gone well for the United Kingdom in the pandemic, though Spain just passed the UK in total number of Covid-19 cases. All those programs Boris Johnson promised – more protective gear for healthcare workers, more testing and contact-tracing apps – never happened after the UK got a late start on checking the virus.
Only in the third week of March did Britain finally join the rest of Europe in announcing a lockdown. On Sunday, 22 March, the PM instituted a “stay at home lockdown,” ordering all shops closed other than supermarkets and pharmacies.
Then Johnson himself was infected, hospitalized and released. With more than 43,000, UK is European country with the most total coronavirus deaths because – as the Guardian puts it – no other European country put the village idiot in charge.
The UK’s trend lines were favorable until a second pandemic wave hit, with a spike of 20,000 new cases on 14 October and infection rates rising every day in September but two.
Average new daily cases averaged about 1,100 per day for August from a one-day high of almost 8,700 on 10 April and now have shot up to about 17,000 for October, taking the UK to infection rates double those at the height of the first wave, with patients pouring into hospitals.
Unlike other countries in Europe, deaths have spiked in a second wave of infection, with well over 1,000 for July and more than 150 in August, then 430 deaths recorded in September. In the first three weeks of October, the UK recorded about 1,700 COVID-19 related deaths.
Bottom line: Boris has pretty much united the country in that no one – left, right or center – thinks he’s doing a good job or understands exactly what his pandemic approach even is as he’s jumped from one complicated and contradictory policy to the next.
CNN has a deep dive into what has gone wrong, which includes pretty much everything from lack of protective gear for healthcare workers to the virus rampaging through care homes.
At mid-October, and true to form, the UK went to a three-tiered set of rules restrictions. Four counting Northern Ireland, which is closing schools and shuttering bars … and maybe five or six since NI, Scotland and Wales implement their own rules. Simple, right?
England and Scotland are keeping bars and restaurants open, but each has different closing time and food and drink rules on the premises.
Wales shuts down for two weeks starting 22 October. All non-essential shops are to close, as will most schools. Northern Ireland has closed schools, bars and restaurants.
About 5.8 million people in England – one out of 10 – will be under tougher lockdown rules than the rest of the UK.
As for the various tiers, Tier 3 designates a very high infection rate, with Tier 2 less bad and Tier 1 “medium,” according to Sky News. We have neither the space nor the inclination to break this all down, but you can see the details here.
The interesting part of all this is that Johnson ignored his own scientists and public health experts weeks ago to institute a two-week lockdown, which the experts say was too little, too late. Again.
• On 27 July, masks became compulsory on public transportation and when buying carry-out food.
• On 24 July, masks became mandatory in shops across most of the UK, though not Wales, for some reason. (No clue why the UK waited to do this. The death rate of sales and retail assistants is 75-percent higher amongst men and 60-percent higher amongst women than in the general population, according to the BBC.)
British officials are busy adding new countries to their already extensive list requiring a 14-day quarantine list. As of 12 September, the UK has added Portugal (as predicted), Hungary, French Polynesia and Reunion island. Sweden and Italy are likely to join them.
British tourists panicked on Friday, 14 August when France became the latest, though the requirement didn’t go into effect until the next day. Which led to a rush on private jet rentals as an estimated 160,000 Brits rushed to make the deadline.
British officials also are advising against travel to certain parts of Greece.
Effective 20 August, arrivals from Croatia also must quarantine, setting off another rush to beat the deadline. Conversely, Portugal is on the verge of being taken off the list as infections decrease.
Belgium, Malta, the Netherlands, the Turks and Caicos and the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba are on the list effective 15 August. Greece and Switzerland are odds on favorites to be added before the end of September.