EU border app helps tourists plan in age of virus

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Can I go on holiday to Spain? Will I face quarantine? Have the museums and restaurants re-opened yet?

From yesterday, as European Union (EU) member states accelerated the reopening of their frontiers, tourists’ questions will be answered by an official EU website.

On ‘Re-open EU’ or reopen.europa.eu, travellers can enter the name of the country they hope to visit and find out what the rules are in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

The site is available in 24 languages so far covers only the 27 EU member states – there is no information for Britain nor the four non-EU members of the Schengen travel zone.

A resident of France, for example, can consult the site to find out that high speed rail links to Luxembourg are being restored progressively and are at 60 per cent of normal.

If he or she wants to go to Austria a face mask is required on the train, and before flying home to France he or she will need to provide a statement of honour that they have no coronavirus symptoms.

The site and an eventual app will be updated as the situation evolves.

Most EU countries reopened their internal borders within the block yesterday, but social distancing rules vary widely across the bloc and some members continue to restrict arrivals from high-risk areas.