Accessibility links

Breaking News

Southeast Europe Hit By Traffic Jams Despite COVID-19 Travel Restrictions

Thousands of people have reportedly had to wait hours to cross borders in southeastern Europe. (file photo)

Despite travel restrictions, huge traffic jams have been reported on the borders between Slovenia and Croatia as well as Hungary and Serbia.

Reports on December 19 spoke of thousands of people waiting for hours to cross.

Many people from countries like Turkey, Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia work and live in Western Europe. They traditionally travel home by car for holidays, both in the winter and in the summer.

Some European Union nations with big migrant worker communities have imposed obligatory coronavirus tests and isolation upon their return, hoping to dissuade people from holiday travel to countries with high infection rates.

Countries throughout the Balkans have reported thousands of new virus infections daily and hospitals across the region are full.

Aside from the regular holiday traffic, the current border rush could be linked to Serbia’s decision to demand mandatory negative coronavirus tests for foreigners coming in starting on December 21. Serbian citizens without negative tests will have to isolate for 10 days upon arrival.

Croatia, a member of the EU, is also demanding mandatory negative virus tests for its citizens coming in from abroad, which has slowed down the usual border checks.

The Croatian state television station, HRT, reported on December 19 that lines of cars had formed on Croatia's borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Serbia's RTS television said travelers waited for at least four hours to enter Hungary overnight. It said some 16,000 people had entered Serbia in the previous 24 hours.

Based on reporting by AP