The European Union may prohibit travelers to enter the UK and restrict movement at internal borders due to a new strain of coronavirus.
The proposals will be discussed by the leaders of the EU at a video summit on January 21.
According to the document drafted by the German government, the prevalence of a new strain in any area, whether the country is in the EU or outside the bloc, would be enough to ban travel.
“Where member states deem it necessary to protect public health, they may impose temporary entry and transport bans on passengers arriving from third countries with areas prone to the virus,” German officials wrote.
Angela Merkel’s chief of staff Helge Braun said on Thursday that internal EU borders should also be closed if new strains could not be brought under control.
“The danger is that when the number of infections in a country increases, this mutation becomes a quasi-majority variant and then the infection cannot be controlled,” she said.
Berlin points out that “protecting the health of EU citizens while ensuring freedom of movement within the EU and movement without border controls within the Schengen area requires member states to take concerted measures to contain the spread of new strains of the Sars-CoV-2 virus”.
“Currently known strains are B117 (British mutation) and 501V2 (South African mutation) and there are fears that new mutations will emerge. Only if Member States take joint and coordinated action can the virus be effectively contained. For this reason, we see an urgent need to act to prevent or at least slow down the spread of virus strains in the EU+ zone (EU member states plus Switzerland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland),” the proposal reads.
Berlin also proposed the establishment of testing centers at internal EU borders as the only instrument with mandatory quarantine for those arriving from areas with a high prevalence of new strains.