COVID-19: EU eyes letting in travelers fully vaccinated en bloc


The nearly empty Pariser Platz square opposite Berlin’s Brandenburger Tor is reflected in a shop window on January 22, 2021, during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Image Credit: AFP

Brussels: The European Union executive on Monday proposed that travelers fully vaccinated with EU-approved vaccines could enter the block, according to a statement.

The European Commission has urged the 27 EU member countries – which make their own health decisions – to “lift restrictions on non-essential travel for vaccinated people going to the EU”.

He also wants to see travelers from countries that have done a good job of keeping COVID-19 at bay so they can get in, based on the number of infections they record per 100,000 people on average over a two-week period.

The proposal would see the infection threshold drop from the “very severe” bar of 25 cases per 100,000 decided almost a year ago to 100 cases, said an EU official involved in drafting the report. proposal to journalists on condition of not being identified.

“So we will no longer have a choice between, say, 10 to 15 countries around the world, but member states will be able to choose countries, international countries from a list of up to 100 countries, if the situation continues to deteriorate. develop. in a positive way, ”he said.

Proof that a person has been fully vaccinated – at least two weeks before arriving in the EU, so that full immunity can take effect – would not rule out member states also requiring COVID-19 testing before or after arrival, or quarantine if the authorities deemed it warranted, he added.

The proposal also states that an ’emergency brake’ option should be reserved to allow Member States to quickly close travel from countries where a ‘worrying or interesting variant is detected’.

EU approved vaccines

The EU currently has four vaccines currently authorized by its European Medicines Agency: from BioNTech / Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Others can be added later. The EMA is starting to look into the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. So far, however, no evaluation has been made of the Chinese jabs, which are used in several countries.

The statement said other vaccines could later be added to the list of approved trips to the EU if they are on a list of vaccines used urgently by the World Health Organization.

The EU currently recommends a blanket ban on travelers entering the block, except those carrying out essential business, and most member states abide by this rule.

Only six countries – Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – are on an EU list allowing member states to “gradually” lift travel restrictions on travelers by from these countries. Their figures show COVID-19 infections are under control.

China is also on that list, but travel restrictions will only be eased if it reciprocates and allows arrivals from the EU, which it does not currently do.

The European Commission wants to see Europe soon open its borders to travelers who meet its criteria, in order to save the continent’s important summer tourist season.

A key part of this is a ‘digital green certificate’ intended to prove that the carrier has been vaccinated, recently tested negative for the Covid test, or is immune after recovering from a Covid infection.

He plans to launch the certificate next month for travel within the EU, with the aim of eventually relying on such a document for travelers from countries outside the bloc.


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