Fully vaccinated travelers should be exempt from restrictions, Brussels says
Travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or who have recovered from the disease should be completely exempt from any restrictions such as testing and quarantine, when traveling within the European Union, Brussels said.
The recommendation comes as the bloc prepares to deploy its first EU-wide ticket to facilitate cross-border travel during the pandemic.
The law on travel tickets provides that EU countries refrain from imposing travel restrictions on ticket holders.
However, it opens the door to additional measures in case the health situation deteriorates or new variants are detected. It also leaves unanswered questions about what happens to those who did not get the pass but intend to travel.
Recognizing the potential fragmentation and uncertainty for travelers, the European Commission has proposed A recommendation for national governments.
If adopted by EU countries, the new rules will allow fully vaccinated people – who have received the second dose in the last 14 days – to be exempt from testing and quarantine requirements when traveling within the country. ‘European Union. The same would apply to those who have recovered from the disease in the last 180 days.
It will be up to each country to decide whether the rule applies to those who have been partially vaccinated. Vaccination and recovery certificates must comply with the provisions of the EU COVID digital certificate, the official name of the ticket.
Additionally, travelers with a valid COVID-19 test should not be subject to quarantine. The European Commission offers two standardized validity periods: 72 hours for PCR tests and 48 hours for rapid antigenic tests. Not all Member States accept antigen testing.
Children traveling with their parents should be exempted from quarantine when parents are also relieved of the procedure, the European Commission added. Children under the age of six should not be tested.
From green to dark red
Brussels also wants more clarification and harmonization concerning the color scheme of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Travelers in green zones should be free of restrictions, while those in orange zones may still be asked to submit a test before departure. Those coming from the red zones could be forced to quarantine themselves unless they test negative before their departure.
“For areas marked in orange, the proposal is to increase the threshold for the 14-day cumulative COVID-19 case notification rate from 50 to 75. Similarly, for red areas, the proposal is to adjust the threshold range from 50 to 150 currently. to the new 75-150 “, noted the executive.
Travel to and from the dark red areas, which are now very limited on the mainland, will remain discouraged and restrictions will remain in place.
Brussels wants the new recommendation to be adopted by member states by mid-June. The rules would help create a common EU-wide framework for travel as vaccination grows and the EU’s digital COVID certificate is gradually rolled out.
Throughout the health crisis, the executive tried, without much success, to harmonize the situation between member states to ensure coordination. Stimulated by an increasing pace of vaccination and the reopening of economies, the European Commission considers that now is the time to update the guidelines.
“We now expect member states to make the best use of this instrument and the recommendation to allow everyone to move freely and safely again,” said Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, on Monday afternoon.
Even if the recommendation is approved, national governments could still choose to ignore it and impose travel restrictions on those who have been vaccinated or recovered from the disease.
Only the EU’s legally binding COVID digital certificate will allow a citizen to be fully exempt from testing and quarantine requirements, unless emergency measures are introduced.