Michael Gove discusses changes to EU travel after Brexit
Border guards in Sweden, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands have turned away Britons after arrival because their trips were not deemed necessary or negative COVID-19 tests were rejected. The UK was removed from the EU’s list of countries exempt from rules barring non-essential visitors from the bloc and European Economic Area on New Year’s Eve. European capitals last year agreed to welcome travellers from a small group of countries with low levels of Covid infections, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.
Six British passengers who arrived at Gothenburg airport, Sweden, on Sunday were held overnight in “jail”-like conditions after their negative coronavirus tests were rejected by border guards.
There were also similar reports of passengers turned away from KLM flights from UK airports to the Netherlands for the same reason.
And other Britons were barred from boarding flights to Spain and Germany because their pre-Brexit residency papers were no longer valid.
Gina Smart, a 25-year-old teacher from Britain, said she was detained inside Gothenburg airport for more than 24 hours as part of a group of travellers who were told their PCT tests had not been conducted by an authorised provider.
Britons face being locked out of EU as bloc enforces coronavirus rules
Britons were barred from boarding flights to EU destinations
She told the Telegraph: “I feel I’ve been really treated diabolically.
“I don’t think that refugees would be treated like this.”
Ms Smart, who is applying for Swedish residency, said she was forced to wait outside in freezing temperatures, left to sleep in an empty waiting room and denied food and water.
After border guards rummaged through her luggage, she added: “I said, ‘why are you doing this?’ And they said, ‘because you’re like every other country now – like Turkey’.”
Most EU countries require travellers to have a negative Covid test
Another British citizen Lauren Braithewait, 32, said: “It felt like the police were using tactics to break us so we would give in and agree to take a flight back to the UK.”
Most EU states now require travellers from third countries to have taken a negative Covid test within 72 hours of their arrival, as well as proof their trip is essential.
The Dutch border force yesterday said that up to 13 British citizens had been turned away from Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport since Friday.
Gendarmerie spokesman Robert van Kapel said: “They all had a negative PCR test, but they forgot the basic rule that it must be a necessary trip, for example for work or due to serious personal circumstances.
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“People from safe countries are allowed to pass, but the UK is certainly not a safe country right now.”
On Sunday eight Britons living in Spain were turned away from a BA/Iberia flight to Madrid after the airline refused to accept their pre-Brexit residency cards.
And a small number of UK citizens were blocked from entering Germany after failing to prove their residence in the country, according to a Lufthansa spokesman.
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said UK nationals who are resident in the EU and hold a permit, a certificate of application, or a document identifying them as a frontier worker should not be subject to the EU’s Covid travel rules.
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A spokesman said: “They will not need a visa, should not have their passport stamped or be subject to routine intentions questions, or be required to prove sufficient means of subsistence at the Schengen border.
“However, member states may require them to self-isolate or similar on arrival, provided they also require the same of their own nationals.”
Boris Johnson last night announced a new national lockdown for England amid fears that the mutant strain of Covid is ripping across the country.
Under the rules, people should only travel abroad if it is considered essential.