The COVID-19 outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, is continuing to make travel difficult to nearly impossible for travelers around the world as nations grapple with tactics to contain the spread of it.
Naturally, the economic effects of these moves will likely last the entire year but it is the temporary measures that some countries are taking that are getting the most scrutiny in the here and now. One popular tactic that many Schengen zone countries as using is an embargo on the issuance of visas in China. Seven Schengen zone countries recently announced that they would extend this embargo until February 17th.
A notice about the embargo read in part, “In the light of the current Coronavirus alert, please note that the Visa Application Centres across China will remain closed and are scheduled to reopen on 17 February 2020 (opening time of Visa Application Centers in Wuhan will be announced separately).”
The measures are understandable, in part, because the nature of the disease isn’t fully understood as of yet. Even so, as more information emerges, nation-states are tailoring their policies to meet current conditions.
For example, one center that issues visas for Slovakia had the following notice posted on their door, “In light of the current Coronavirus alert, please note that the Slovakia Visa Application Centers across China will remain closed until 09 February 2020 (included). However, the re-opening of the centers may change, subject to further notifications from central, provincial and city authorities. We apologize for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and kind co-operation. Please return to this page for further updates.”
Those countries include Austria, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Estonia, Norway, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
So far the wait-and-see approach that the EU has taken has worked in most countries. Italy has dealt with a particularly hard outbreak of the virus but the rest of the member states seem to be keeping the disease contained.
Though a lot of the initial fears over the virus and its impact on the world economy are still being determined, a lot of the current behavior is done on a reactionary basis, EU officials note. Whether or not the EU wants to take stronger measures is often tempered by sending the wrong signals to job markets and businesses in terms of disruptions to trade.