Corona Crisis

The current Corona rules in Europe and abroad

Italy has recently been announcing new record numbers of cases and steep increases almost every day.
Imago / Zuma Press
Italy has recently been announcing new record numbers of cases and steep increases almost every day.

The highly contagious virus variant Omicron is driving up corona numbers in many regions of the world. What is the situation on the ground? Where do which regulations apply? An overview.

AUSTRIA: To the chagrin of the gastronomy and hotel industry, the closing time has been brought forward to 10 pm. In addition, the familiar hurdles to entry continue to apply. Those who do not have a booster vaccination must present a PCR test. Those who have recovered also need a PCR test. School-age children are allowed to vacation in the country with sufficient proof of testing, which means about three tests per week. Children under twelve are not affected by the rules. The seven-day incidence was recently around 170 cases per 100,000 population. 

SWITZERLAND: The Corona situation has worsened significantly. Most recently, more than 13,000 new infections were counted within 24 hours. Measured by the number of inhabitants, the number is almost three times as high as in Germany. For entry, even vaccinated and recovered persons need a negative PCR or antigen rapid test. Unvaccinated persons must take a second test after entry. However, there are no quarantine regulations. Winter sports are possible for vaccinated and recovered persons and also with proof a negative test, but in huts, restaurants and at cultural events, there is only access for vaccinated and recovered persons.

NETHERLANDS: As of Tuesday, authorities believe the Omicron variant is dominant in the country. A hard lockdown is in effect at least until January 14. Shops, restaurants, schools, cultural and sports facilities are closed. Exceptions are made for supermarkets or pharmacies. At home, you are allowed a maximum of two guests. Even outside, only two people are allowed together.

BELGIUM: After record levels at the end of November, the number of infections continues to fall, but the Corona rules were recently tightened anyway. Restaurants must close at 11 p.m. The government recommends limiting social gatherings. Indoor gatherings - except in private homes - are largely banned. The 14-day incidence was most recently 881. Most recently, it was decided that cinemas, concert halls and other cultural venues would be allowed to reopen. However, a maximum of 200 spectators are allowed, the wearing of masks is compulsory and a vaccination certificate or negative test must usually be presented.

DENMARK: Anyone who wants to enter the country must take a Corona test before entering - regardless of vaccination status. Children and adolescents under 15 years of age are exempt. The number of new infections has risen sharply because of Omicron, with Denmark recently reporting the highest incidence in the EU. Cinemas, theatres, zoos and amusement parks are closed, as are clubs. Only libraries and music schools are allowed to open. Bars and restaurants must close at 11 p.m., and no alcohol may be sold at night. Mandatory masks and entry rules apply in many areas.

FRANCE: Corona numbers soar, government calls it a "tidal wave". When visiting cafes and restaurants, cinemas and other events, the "passe sanitaire" is required. This is digital proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test. This proof is also required for travel by air or long-distance train. People aged 65 and over whose immunisation dates back seven months or more require a booster vaccination for the "Passe Sanitaire". Apart from indoors, masks are also compulsory outdoors in many city centres.

ITALY: Anyone wishing to enter the country must show a negative PCR or antigen rapid test. This also applies to vaccinated and recovered persons. Masks are compulsory throughout the country, even outdoors. In ski lifts and on local and long-distance public transport, proof of being vaccinated, tested negative or recovered is required. From 10 January 2022, however, this will change and in hotels and at festivals, as it already does in restaurants, museums or theatres; a negative test will then not be sufficient. Recently, the Corona numbers went up sharply. 

GREECE: The government has passed numerous Corona measures because of the rapid spread of Omicron. For example, all taverns, bars and pubs must now close at midnight. Patrons may not stand, but may only be served at their tables. Music will be banned in these establishments. In all public places it remains compulsory to wear an FFP2 mask. Travellers to Greece must show a negative test before travelling.

SPAIN: Despite a vaccination rate of about 80 percent, the number of new infections is rising rapidly. In Spain, the isolation period is reduced from ten to seven days after a symptom-free infection. Vaccinated persons who have had contact with an infected person do not have to be isolated at all. Outdoor masking is compulsory throughout the country. In 9 out of 17 regions, curfews or night-time curfew restrictions apply, while in others - such as Madrid - there are hardly any restrictions. Those over twelve must be vaccinated, recovered or tested on entry.

PORTUGAL: The country has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world and yet the infection figures are rising rapidly here too. Since December 1, the National State of Emergency has been in effect with stricter measures, such as entry rules (recovered, vaccinated or tested) for access to hotels, restaurants and tourist facilities. Until 9 January, bars and clubs will remain closed, in addition to schools. Masks are compulsory in indoor public places. On entry, even vaccinated people must present a negative test.

GREAT BRITAIN: Into the pub, the opera or even into the disco? In England, that's no problem. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that he will not tighten the Corona rules in the largest part of the country. Currently, masks are compulsory on public transport, in shops and in theatres, cinemas and museums - but not in pubs and restaurants. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have much stricter rules. Anyone wishing to enter the country must present a negative test before departure. Even vaccinated people and children aged five and over must take a PCR test within the first two days of arrival, which must be purchased online in advance. Until the results are in, travelers must isolate themselves.

IRELAND: All travelers twelve years of age and older must show proof of a negative Corona test prior to arrival; for those who have been vaccinated, an antigen test will suffice. In addition, an entry form must be completed. Admission to restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms is only possible on presentation of proof of vaccination. Pubs, restaurants and cafés must close at 8pm. Ordering is only allowed at the table, a maximum of six people are allowed to sit together. In many areas masks are compulsory. A maximum of four households are allowed to attend private indoor meetings.

CZECHIA: The country has tightened entry requirements out of concern for the omicron variant. Even those with full basic immunization need a negative PCR test result to enter the country. Only boostered persons are exempt. In hotels and restaurants as well as on ski slopes, only vaccinated and recovered people have access. 

POLAND: There is a ten-day quarantine requirement when entering from the Schengen area. Those who have been fully vaccinated, those who have recovered and travellers with current negative test results are exempt. Clubs and discos are closed. Ski resorts are operating.

RUSSIA: The Corona situation has eased slightly and only a few Omicron cases have been reported so far. Officials say there were 21,000 new infections and more than 900 deaths within a day in the world's largest country by area at last count. Proof of vaccination or recovery is not required for travel within Russia. Restaurants and discos are open as usual - as are the many skating rinks.

TURKEY: According to official figures, an average of around 20,000 new Corona cases are currently being reported every day. There are no official rules for private gatherings. Many public places still require masks, such as when minimum distances cannot be maintained. Travellers using planes or long-distance buses and trains must present proof of vaccination. The same applies to cultural events such as concerts or visits to the theatre or cinema.

USA: Omicron is already the dominant virus variant. Those wishing to enter the country from Europe need a negative test, which must have been taken one calendar day before departure for the USA. Additionally, foreigners are usually required to prove complete Covid 19 vaccination before flying to the US. There are no nationwide restrictions for private meetings. Wearing masks indoors is only required in some states. Restaurants, movie theaters and stores are generally open. Recently, however, restaurants, museums and other businesses had to close, especially in the northeast of the country, because many employees were in quarantine.