Brussels – The European Commission issued a statement, Friday, May 8, revealing that the COVID-19 situation “remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide”.
The Commission called for “continued measures” to minimize the coronavirus spread and eventually stop the pandemic, and recommended to a 30-day extension of the current EU travel ban.
The European Union will likely keep its external borders closed until June 15 and, according to EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson.
She added that after June 15, lifting of the travel constraints should be implemented in a “phased and coordinated” way in order to prevent a second wave of the pandemic.
EU member states closed their borders to travellers from outside the bloc in March, in a bid to curb the rapidly spreading COVID-19.
At the same time, some countries also quickly moved to close their internal borders to travellers, even those from fellow-member states – a move which was frowned-upon in Brussels.
The ban on travel does not affect the UK since it is still in its Brexit transition phase and is still treated in many ways as an EU member.
Healthcare workers and other workers, including those transporting cargo, are also exempt from the restrictions.
While the Commission statement came on Friday, France had already announced on Thursday that it would keep its own borders shut to non-essential travelers until“at least June 15th.”
As of May 8, there were more than 1.5 million cases of coronavirus infection reported across Europe, with Spain, Italy, the UK and Germany among the worst-hit countries.