Coronavirus travel rules: European countries’ border restrictions and travel measures explained

Across Europe, governments reopened their borders over the summer after months of closure during the spring coronavirus pandemic.

But following the relaxation of measures and border restrictions, much of Europe is now experiencing a second wave.

Along with new lockdown restrictions, some countries are closing their borders evvel again to travellers coming from hotspots. The situation is fluid, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has published maps to support a coordinated approach across the bloc.

It’s updated every Thursday.

For countries outside of the bloc, the EU has opened its external borders to a select group, based on their coronavirus numbers. The list is updated every fortnight.

As of August 8, citizens of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China can enter. The US, Montenegro, Morocco and Serbia are among the countries on the banned list. But member states are not, however, legally obliged to follow the EU’s recommendation.

Given the pace of change, Euronews has compiled a handy guide to the situation in each European country.

Albania — commercial flights have resumed since June 15

All EU nationals and residents are eligible to enter Albania at the moment.

The country can be reached with flights from Germany, Italy, the UK, Serbia, Austria, Greece and Turkey.

Passengers at all terminals are expected to pass through a “disinfection tunnel” and undergo “body temperature measurement”. Anyone with body temperature higher than 37.5°C “shall be interviewed by the company doctor”.

Austria — no restrictions for Austrian green list’s countries

Entry from most EU+ countries (including UK, Vatican City, Ireland, Germany, Monaco, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and San Marino) is allowed with no restrictions. There are restrictions for arrivals coming from parts of the Czech Republic, Croatia, France, Portugal, Spain and Bulgaria. In this case, travellers should either self-isolate for 10 days – at their own expense – or present a negative PCR test which is not older than 72 hours.

Entry from third countries is prohibited though seasonal workers in the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors may be exempt from this ban.

More info can be found here, as well as an updated list of nationals allowed to enter Austria.

Belgium — quarantine/PCR test required for travellers from many European regions

Belgium is operating a traffic light system (red, orange and green zones) to denote travel restrictions, red being the most severe with travel to and from the countries listed strongly discouraged.

At the moment, most of Europe is a red zone, including Ireland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Serbia, Albania and much of France, Spain and the United Kingdom. The majority of Germany is an orange zone, as is Italy, Portugal, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria and Greece.

The only green zone is currently Istria in Croatia.

All passengers arriving in Belgium by air or sea must fill a “Public Health Passenger Locator Form” and hand it over to the border authorities.

Until November 7, travellers arriving from red zones will not be obligated to be testing on arrival in Belgium unless they show coronavirus symptoms or depending on their answers to the Passenger Locator Form.

Non-essential travel to and from outside the EU and Schengen countries remains prohibited.

Bosnia and Herzegovina — has reopened for tourism since July 16

Bosnia opened borders on July 16 to EU and Schengen citizens carrying a negative coronavirus test not older than 48 hours.

There is still a travel ban for all other foreign nationals, although people with special circumstances (like medical treatment, a business meeting, a funeral or who are in the company of a spouse that is a Bosnian national) may be allowed entry. However, a negative COVID-19 test may still be required.

Bulgaria — has welcomed back tourists from 46 countries without restrictions

Bulgaria opened its borders on June 1 to EU countries, the UK, San Marino, Andorra, Monaco, Vatican, Serbia and North Macedonia citizens, as well as to medical workers and family members of Bulgarian citizens, as listed on the government website.

Travellers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Ukraine are allowed in too with no need to present a negative COVID-19 test.

The list of countries not subject to a travel ban or quarantine obligation is updated periodically and can be found here.

Arrivals from Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Albania, Kuwait, Moldova, Israel and any other third country must hand a negative COVID-19 test. Tourists from these countries must meanwhile submit a declaration acknowledging the have been informed of the country’s anti-epidemic measures and with risks associated with COVID-19 to health inspector at the border.

Croatia — Citizens of EU+ countries can travel without restrictions

Borders remain open to EU, UK, Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and Holy See citizens. This also includes the families of the mentioned nationals.

However, entry from third countries may also be permitted for business, study and even tourism reasons, providing relevant documentation, listed here. In these cases, it is obligatory to present a negative PCR test that is not older than 48-hours upon arrival. Travellers who fail to present a test that fulfils these criteria must undergo a 14-day quarantine or hisse for a further test at their own expense after seven days to shorten their quarantine period.

The government has advised all travellers to fill an online form in order to shorten border checks.

Cyprus — many countries removed from safe list

Cyprus resumed tourist travel on June 9 after closing its borders for almost three months.

Authorities have created three categories based on countries’ epidemiological situation, which detail if passengers from these destinations are allowed to enter and under what conditions.

The lists are updated weekly by the Ministry of Health and can be found here.

All passengers, regardless of their nationality, need to fill out a form called Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours before their flight departure.

List A: “Low-risk countries” (no restrictions)

These countries include: Australia, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, South Korea, Latvia, New Zealand and Thailand.

List B: “Possibly low risk but greater uncertainty” (entry permitted with negative COVID-19 test)

Passengers coming from these countries need to test negative for the virus no later than 72 hours prior to their arrival and include: Canada, China, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Holy See (Vatican City State), Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, San Marino, Serbia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Uruguay.

List C: “Greater risk” (entry not permitted unless the traveller is Cyprus resident or is included in this list).

These countries are all those not listed above, including Portugal, Luxembourg, Romania and Montenegro.

Czech Republic — Another country added to the red list

EU countries have been divided into groups dependent on risk.

All EU member states except Spain are now in the low-risk green group, meaning travellers can enter the Czech Republic with no restrictions. They are joined by Andorra, Australia, Iceland, Japan, Canada, South Korea, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, New Zealand, San Marino, Thailand, Tunisia, Switzerland, Vatican City and the UK.

Spain (excuding the Canary Islands which are in the low-risk group) is currently classified as “red” and tourists need to present a negative coronavirus test upon arrival.

Entry is prohibited to all other third-country nationals, except for cases listed here.

Denmark — countries added to the high-risk list

Denmark’s borders have been closing again to many European countries, but this is subject to change based on a set of health measures and analysis. Parts of the bordering areas in Sweden have also been reopened. The list of closed countries is updated weekly.

France, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria, Italy, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Poland, Vatican City, Iceland and San Marino are among the high-risk countries on the ‘banned’ list as of October 17. In order to enter, travellers must have a valid reason or a certificate proving a negative test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

Countries that are not on the banned list are as follows: Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Estonia — opens to EU+ citizens

EU citizens, those in the Schengen area, the UK, Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican can now travel to Estonia if they are without symptoms.

Citizens from other countries not mentioned on this list will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.

Finland — changed its rating of the epidemiological situation

From September 11, Finland allowed arrivals in without mandatory testing or quarantine when they are coming from a country with fewer than 25 cases per 100,000 people in the last fortnight.

Leisure travellers from all EU, Schengen countries, and the UK will be allowed in Finland from November 23, even with rates above the aforementioned amount. However, travellers will need to have proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within the last 72 hours. They will also be quarantined 72 hours upon arrival and will need to take a second test. When this second negative result comes in, they will be able to travel around Finland freely.

On October 12, Cyprus, Latvia and Lichtenstein were removed from the safe list.

France — suggested voluntary quarantine for Spaniards and Britons

Travellers from EU member states as well as Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, the United Kingdom and Uruguay had been allowed to visit the county without evidence of a COVID-19 test or any form of quarantine upon arrival.

All travellers must however now present a travel certificate stating their reasons for travel and a sworn statement to say they are not showing signs of COVID-19 infection, which can be downloaded from the French Ministry of Interior website.

Passengers arriving from any country of origin will be required to quarantine if they display symptoms.

Per the EU Council’s recommendation, France reopened its borders to 15 non-member states on July 1.

Germany — new risk areas added

As of October 17, a number of places have been added to risk areas.

The regions of Zagreb and Međimurska in Croatia; Ostrobothnia in Finland; Veszprém in Hungary; the whole of mainland France plus Martinique; the Mid-West South-West, Mid-East, West and Midlands of Ireland; Campania and Liguria in Italy; Kujawsko-Pomorskie, Małopolskie, Podlaski, Pomorskie and Świętokrzyskie in Poland; the Norte region of Portugal, Jugovzhodna Slovenija, Pomurska and Podravska in Slovenia; Jämtland, Örebro, Uppsala, Stockholm in Sweden; Fribourg, Jura, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Uri, Zurich und Zug in Switzerland; the East Midlands and West Midlands of the UK.

The whole of France, Malta, the Netherlands and Slovakia have also been added to the list.

Check this list for the full information. Anyone not coming from an area on the list can enter Germany with no restrictions.

Germany has offered to hisse for the coronavirus test for people entering the country from high-risk regions in the first three days of their arrival.

Greece — tests necessary for some countries

Travellers from Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Malta, Belgium, Spain, Russia, Albania and North Macedonia will be required to have negative COVID-19 test, performed up to 72 hours before their entry to Greece.

All travellers crossing Greece’s land borders will require evidence of a negative test carried out in the country of departure 72 hours prior to arrival in Greece.

Updated information on Greece’s travel restrictions can be found here, as well as the mandatory passenger locator form to be completed prior to arrival by all travellers.

Health screening is in place at Greek airports and ports, with travellers, particularly if arriving from anywhere outside of Europe, potentially needing to submit to a COVID-19 test.

All air connections with Turkey have been suspended.

Hungary — borders closed from September 1

Hungary will close its borders to foreigners from September 1 and citizens returning from abroad will be obliged to self-quarantine either for a period of 14 days or until they produce two negative tests taken two days apart.

There are some very limited circumstances in which foreign nationals may be allowed entry, including a residency permit.

The country had opened its borders without restrictions to citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area (excluding the United Kingdom) and of Switzerland on 21 June.

It had opened its border with Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Serbia on June 12 without the need for going into quarantine.

Iceland — foreign nationals need registering

Iceland reopened to EU and UK travellers on June 15.

Passengers arriving in Iceland may choose either to submit to two screening tests for COVID-19, separated by five days’ quarantine until the results of the second test are known, or else not to undergo border screening but instead to spend 14 days in quarantine after arrival.

Those who test positive will have to remain in self-isolation.

The government decided that all foreign nationals currently in the country, who cannot leave due to travel restrictions, quarantine or isolation, will need to register in order for their stay to be meşru.

Ireland — all EU/EEA countries removed from the green list

The Irish health authorities currently require anyone coming into Ireland, except from Northern Ireland, to self-isolate for 14 days, upon arrival, including Irish residents.

As of October 16, the Irish green list is devoid of any countries, including all EU/EEA countries.

Arrivals have to complete a passenger locator form, although exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Italy — quarantine required for two EU countries

Borders in Italy opened June 3 to citizens from the EU, UK, Schengen area, Andorra, Vatican City, San Marino and Monaco, following a nationwide lockdown which came into force on March 9.

Under rules in force until November 13, all travellers coming to Italy need to fill in a passenger form on the Foreign Ministry website, which also has updates on travel restrictions for Italy.

Travellers arriving from EU member states and the Schengen area are not required to quarantine but do need to fill out a self-declaration form with the exception of the Vatican City and San Marino where no limitations apply.

Those arriving from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Spain and the United Kingdom must present evidence of having taken a swab test with a negative result 72 hours prior to arriving in Italy or undergo one at the airport of entry or within 48 hours of arrival at a health clinic.

Arrivals from the rest of the world are restricted to specific reasons (study, work, health or returning home) and entails a mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

All Italian passenger cruise ships have suspended activity until further notice.

Latvia — introduces 10-day quarantine for risk countries

Since October 12, anyone intending to enter Latvia must complete an electronic form 48 hours before arriving in the country.

Latvia has also introduced a ten-day quarantine from travellers from high-risk countries. These include Andorra, Czech Republic, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium with skyrocketing cases.

Also: France, the UK, Iceland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia, Austria, Ireland, Malta, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Croatia, Poland, Monaco, San Marino, Sweden, Italy, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Liechtenstein, Greece, Vatican City and Germany.

Only four countries are on the low threat list: Estonia, Finland, Norway and Cyprus.

This list is updated on a weekly basis.

Lithuania — reduced restrictions on entry for Baltic countries

Lithuania has opened its borders to citizens from the EU, EEA, Switzerland and the UK provided the incidence of COVID-19 in the country they reside in has not exceeded 16 cases per 100,000 people in the population over the last 14 calendar days.

Requirements to self-isolate when arriving from these countries have been lifted.

However, Vilnius introduced a 14-day isolation requirement for its nationals or residents arriving from 50 countries most affected by COVID-19 including Sweden, Russia, Belarus, Portugal, and the US. Previously, they were only “advised” to self-isolate.

Luxembourg — no tourism allowed for third-country nationals

Luxembourg’s border with Germany reopened on May 15 and travel has not been restricted with other European nations, although travel from outside Europe is banned.

Luxembourg is also adhering to the list from the EU allowing travel from Australia, Canada, China (subject to confirmation of reciprocity at EU level), Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.

Malta — third-country nationals need to have spent time in green list countries to enter

Malta’s Tourism Ministry announced that it will reopen tourism travel on July 1.

The island nation currently operates a traffic light system (red, amber and green) with varying restrictions according to each level.

Countries on the Green List currently not restricted are as follows: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France (except for passengers arriving from Paris and Marseille), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Spain (excluding Barcelona, Girona and Madrid), Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, the UK, Uruguay and Vatican City.

Travellers arriving from Amber List countries Czech Republic, France (arrivals from Paris and Marseille), Romania, Spain (applies to passengers arriving from Barcelona, Girona and Madrid) and Tunisia are required to submit negative coronavirus test results taken 72 hours prior to travel before they board flights to the island.

Montenegro — borders opened under safe epidemiological condition

Entry to Montenegro is allowed from countries on the green list, which includes EU Member States, along with Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, Turkey, United Kingdom, Ukraine.

Any travellers from countries on the yellow list will need to provide a negative result for COVID-19 which has been given in the last 72 hours.

Such countries on the yellow list include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The Netherlands — non-essential travel to be avoided within the country

The Dutch government is restricting non-essential travel from people from third countries until July 1, but EU citizens – including British nationals – can now enter the country.

However, travellers from Andorra, Austria (the regions of Tyrol, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Vorarlberg, Lower Austria, Upper Austria and Vienna), Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark (Copenhagen, Faaborg-Midtfyn, Slagelse, Arhus, Solrod, Koge and Greve), France, Greece (all Greek islands excluding the mainland), Hungary, Ireland, Lithuania (City of Siauliai), Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Poland, Portugal (Area Metropolitana de Lisboa and the city of Porto), Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland (Cantons of Geneva, Freiburg and Vaud) and the UK are required to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, even if you have no symptoms or have a negative test result.

You do not need to quarantine if you’re travelling from Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay or China.

Like many other nations, there are strict requirements around shaking hands, maintaining social distancing and hand-washing.

Norway — quarantine required from certain European hotspots

Norway closed its borders and only travellers for fellow Nordic countries — Denmark, Iceland, and Finland — were able to return on June 15, with Sweden excluded from the measure.

“Travellers from EEA/Schengen countries with acceptable levels of infection” had been able to visit the country since July 15 but restrictions have been reimposed.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has an updated map showing areas with exemptions of quarantine duty.

From October 17, any arrivals from Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the Vatican City must self-quarantine for 10 days.

Certain regions of Finland (seven hospital districts and the Åland Islands), Sweden (Kalmar) and Greenland are exempt from quarantine.

Norway currently also has a 10-day quarantine for those returning from international travel outside Europe.

Poland — quarantine required for travellers from outside the EU

Borders reopened for EU, EFTA and UK nationals on June 13 with no quarantine condition unless you develop symptoms after arrival, and some international flights from within the bloc have restarted. Poland’s external EU border checks remain in place with Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, except for specific circumstances.

Portugal — airport health screening

Nationals of the UK, the EU and Schengen area, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia or Uruguay are allowed into the country but will be subjected to screening at airports, including temperature checks. You may be required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and self-isolate until you have your results.

For those travelling to Madeira and Porto Santo, passengers must produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 prior to departure as well as fill out a traveller questionnaire from 12 to 48 hours before arrival.

Border controls have been in place since March 16.

Russia — PCR test required upon arrival

All international flights to and from Russia were halted in March. On June 8, Russia said it would partially reopen its borders as the country eases coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said that travelling abroad for work, medical or studying purposes will be allowed, as well as for taking deva of relatives.

He also said Russia will let in foreigners seeking medical treatment or taking deva of family members.

All arrivals are required to show evidence of a negative test 72 hours prior to entry into the country. Provided you can show this, you will not have to self-isolate if you arrive on a scheduled flight. Anyone arriving for work purposes will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

Health checks are being performed at airports with express PCR COVID-19 tests available at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo and Vnukovo airports.

Romania — some international flights remain suspended

People coming from EU countries as well as the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein may enter but they must self-isolate for 14 days if the incidence rate in their country of origin is greater than the one in Romania. If after eight days of quarantine, you show no signs of infection and have a negative test result, you can leave quarantine after 10 days.

Note that direct passenger flights from Sweden, Portugal, UK, USA, Iran and Turkey are suspended.

Serbia — PCR test required for four EU countries

Serbia’s borders are open.

Croatia, Bulgaria, Romania and Northern Macedonia travellers, however, are required to provide a PCR test.

Slovakia — no restriction for “low-risk” countries

Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, San Marino, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, and the Vatican City have been added to the list of “low-risk countries and territories”.

Zeeland and LimburgMore information here.

Slovenia — quarantine required for travellers from high-risk countries

Slovenia reopened borders to citizens coming from many countries on May 15.

The country now operates a colour-coded system with a green list — currently composed of just Australia, New Zealand, Serbia and Uruguay — which are not subject to restrictions.

Health checks may also be carried out at border entries.

Anyone arriving from countries on the red list – of which many are European – must quarantine for 10 days unless they can provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test not older than 48 hours. These countries include: Belgium, Czech Republic, Iceland, the Netherlands (except Zeeland and Limburg) and Spain.

Only some parts of other European countries are included on the list, including Austria, Ireland, the UK, Estonia, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Romania and Switzerland.

The comprehensive list can be viewed here.

Spain — health check for all air/sea passengers upon arrival

Spain reopened its borders to EU member states, Schengen area countries and the UK on June 21. None of these travellers have to self-isolate.

Portugal had been the only exception to the above, but the border between the two countries reopened on July 1. The country also opened up to the list of non-member states approved by the EU Council.

Sweden — non-essential travel ban from countries outside the EU

Sweden has introduced border restrictions but it only applies to non-essential travel from countries outside the EU/EEA, except the UK and Switzerland.

That restriction came into effect on March 19 and has been extended until October 31.

Switzerland — added Luxembourg to list of high-risk countries

Switzerland, which brought in border controls on March 13, reopened borders to all EU countries, the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein on June 15, instead of July 6 as previously planned.

The government also reopened borders to non-EU and non-EFTA workers on July 6, as it announced on June 24.

However, it has now announced those arriving from certain high-risk areas have to quarantine, and a negative test result does not exempt them from the mandatory quarantine requirement.

Parts of Germany (including newly-added Berlin and Hamburg), France, Italy and Austria are on the list, as well as the whole of Croatia, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, among others.

Check for the latest up to date list here.

Any foreign nationals who currently try to enter Switzerland without a valid residence or work permit will be refused entry.

Air passengers from abroad are currently only able to enter the country through the airports at Zurich, Geneva and Basel.

Turkey — borders are opened

Turkey has opened its border to foreign travellers, except for the land border with Iran. Arrivals may have to go through health checks, including temperature checks.

UK — removed countries from travel corridors list

England requires people arriving from abroad to quarantine for 14 days on arrival, but scrapped this rule on July 10 for a number of countries it deems “low-risk”.

Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have introduced broadly the same rules as England but may differ slightly.

Several countries that were previously on a list of travel corridors have since been removed, meaning passengers coming from those destinations will have to quarantine.

People arriving in England from Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Gibraltar, Germany, Greece (except Mykonos), Greenland, Ireland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden do not need to quarantine.

Travellers from other countries in Europe – including France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium and so on – will be subject to a 14-day quarantine, but this can be checked on the UK government website.

As in other countries, certain professions are exempt from these rules, such as healthcare workers travelling to deliver healthcare in the country. Upon arrival, those who are required to self-isolate need to provide their journey and contact details.

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