New Covid restrictions for truckers entering 4 European countries
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As the delta variant of the coronavirus spreads throughout Europe, countries are starting to apply restrictions for travellers entering their borders. Contrary to former practises and the European Union’s recommendation, lorry drivers are not being made exempt from covid-related restrictions when entering Romania, Slovenia, Lithuania and Latvia.
The news requirements in the four countries are as follows:
Romania has introduced a traffic light system for classifying travellers again. The list of the countries can be checked here.
Among the European countries, it is only the UK that is red; Spain, Portugal and the Russian Federation are yellow.
The new restrictions have been in force since 13 July.
Measures for drivers entering Romania from a red country (eg the United Kingdom)
Travellers arriving from the UK will be required to quarantine for fourteen days.
These are the exceptions:
– people who can demonstrate proof of a full course of vaccination against COVID-19, completed at least ten days before arrival in Romania,
– people who can prove they have recovered from COVID-19 between 14 and 90 days before arriving in Romania. (See ‘Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status’).
Travellers who are in possession of a negative RT-PCR test (completed no more than 72 hours before boarding or arriving at the border if travelling independently), will be exempt from the requirement to quarantine, provided they leave Romania within 72 hours of arrival, otherwise they will be expected to quarantine for fourteen days.
All other travellers, including professional lorry drivers, will be expected to quarantine for fourteen days, unless they fit one of the following categories:
- Anyone from a country of epidemiological risk (over 3 infections per 1000 in the last 14 days) but who has spent the last fourteen days in another country. The most recent list, prior to the addition of the UK, is on the Romanian Government website (in Romanian).
- Drivers of goods vehicles with a maximum capacity of 2.4 tonnes; drivers of transport with more than nine seats; pilots, flight crew, locomotive mechanics and railway personnel; sailors disembarking from Romanian flagged ships subject to employers providing relevant safety certificates.
- Employees of Romanian companies returning to Romania on completion of a contract and who have proof of employment outside Romania; representatives of foreign companies with representative offices in Romania with proof that they have a contract to work with a company in Romania; technicians with proof they are arriving to work on installation or maintenance or specific tasks with medical, scientific, economic, defence, public order or transport companies.
- Persons in transit provided they leave within 24 hours.
- Employees of Romanian companies who have returned following negotiations or contract signings provided they have a negative RT-PCR completed no more than 72 hours before boarding or on arrival at the border if travelling independently.
The text of the declaration can be found on the Romanian Government website (in Romanian).
These restrictions do not apply to UK nationals who are legally resident in Romania, who will need to show proof of residency to re-enter Romania.
What proof is accepted?
From English drivers, Romania will accept the NHS COVID Pass or the NHS letter to demonstrate the COVID-19 vaccination status.
However, bear in mind that the NHS appointment card from vaccination centres is not designed to be used as proof of vaccination and should not be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
For European drivers, the EU’s digital COVID Certificate is also accepted as proof of vaccination.
UPDATE – 13:31, 14 July
Following concerns among international hauliers about the obligation to test or vaccinate professional drivers before entering the country, Slovenia changed the original starting date of 15 July of the measures to 15 August.
Lorry drivers will therefore be able to enter or travel through Slovenia without a test or proof of vaccination until 15 August.
Slovenia will no longer apply any exception to mobile workers (even for workers in transit) coming into the country from 15 July. From that date, therefore, it is mandatory for truckers to have a green COVID-19 certification.
Anyone who enters Slovenia, regardless of origin or reason, will be required to present a document (e.g. EUDCC) and proof of having been subjected to a swab (PCR 72h, HAG 48h), vaccine or having contracted COVID -19.
If these certificates are not available, quarantine is required.
The Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania (SAM) has announced drivers who intend to spend more than 24 hours in the country must bring or carry out a COVID-19 test in Lithuania within 24 hours. Previously, this period was 72 hours.
If the person who didn’t intend to stay in Lithuania for 24 hours or longer stays in the country (unless due to objective circumstances, such as customs, border, procedures) and does not have a negative test result, they must apply for and perform a COVID-19 test on a daily basis.
Professional drivers of commercial freight or passenger transport arriving in Latvia via the EU external border with Russia and Belarus must have a negative COVID-19 test result or a certificate of full vaccination.
Those who do not have these documents will be required to carry out a test at border crossing points: Grebņeva, Terehova, Pāternieki or Silene. If the result of the professional driver test is positive, the driver may be ordered to self-isolate.
Currently, the rules stipulate that drivers entering Latvia must take the test at the nearest available location within 24 hours.
In cases where the driver or passenger of a lorry is diagnosed with an illness, the carrier remains responsible for the transport.
Photo credit @ Wikimedia Commons