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Schengen area in crisis

Schengen Area crisis: EU states close borders as coronavirus outbreak grips bloc

Although in late February, the EU claimed that they don’t consider the Coronavirus to be a strong enough reason to halt the Schengen Agreement, certain EU member states have now imposed border checks.

On Friday, March 13, Slovakia, Malta and the Czech Republic announced they will close off their borders to fellow EU member states in an effort to try and stop the spread of the Coronavirus.


Slovakia announced that it would be closing off its borders to all foreigners, except citizens of Poland. An Interior Ministry spokesperson stated that “no foreign citizens will be allowed to enter Slovakia”, adding “at the border crossings with Poland, only Polish citizens will be allowed to enter the country.”

At the time of the announcement, Slovakia had 21 reported Cases of the Coronavirus.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic announced they will be banning entry to travellers coming from Germany and Austria as well as foreigners travelling from the countries most affected by the outbreak, which are:

The Czech travel ban also applies to non-European countries China, South Korea and Iran.

According to PM Andrej Babis, Czech citizens are also restricted from travelling to the highest affected countries



Malta will only be restricting border crossings to Italy, Germany, France, Spain and Switzerland, which report the highest number of Coronavirus cases, according to Malta PM Robert Abela.

Abela claimed, “The decision has been taken on the advice of the medical authorities because of the sharp increase in the spread of the virus.”

At the time of the restriction, Malta had 12 reported cases of the Coronavirus.

This decision was criticized by EU President Ursula von der Leyen, who said, “The single market has to function. It is not good when member states take unilateral action because it always causes a domino effect and that prevents urgently-needed medical equipment from reaching patients and hospitals. It amounts to the reintroduction of internal borders at a time when solidarity between member states is needed.”

As of March 13, nearly all European countries now have reported cases of the novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The highest concentration of infections is in Italy, which has over 15,000 cases and rapidly growing. Following Italy are Spain (4,000+ cases), Germany (3,100+ cases), France (2,800+ cases), and Switzerland (1,100+ cases).

This decision comes less than three weeks after EU officials said that they don’t believe that reintroducing border checks will contribute to the slowdown of the virusspreading in Europe, and only one day after they condemned the US for suspending travel to the