June 1, 2021

EU proposes gradual easing of travel measures

categories : tourism

The European Commission has proposed that its member states gradually ease travel measures, including most importantly for the holders of the EU Digital Covid Certificate, in light of the improving as epidemiological situation.

The Commission has also proposed to update the common criteria for risk areas and to introduce an ‘emergency brake' mechanism, to address the prevalence of new variants of concern or interest. The proposal also includes specific provisions on children to ensure unity of travelling families and a standard validity period for tests.

Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, said: “The last weeks have brought a continuous downward trend in infection numbers, showing the success of the vaccination campaigns across the EU. In parallel, we are also encouraging affordable and widely available testing possibilities. In this context, Member States are now slowly lifting Covid-19 restrictions both domestically and regarding travel.

“Today, we are proposing that Member States coordinate this gradual lifting of free movement restrictions, taking into account our new common tool: the EU Digital Covid Certificate. We now expect Member States to make best use of this instrument and the recommendation to allow everyone to move freely and safely again.”

Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety said: “We want to make sure that we can move towards the reopening of our societies in the weeks ahead safely and in a coordinated way. As vaccination is progressing with increasing speed, we can be confident that safe free movement without restrictions can gradually resume again. Whilst we are looking ahead with more optimism, we need to remain cautious and always put the protection of public health first.”

Key updates to the common approach to travel measures inside the European Union (EU), building on the colour-coded map published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC):

• Fully vaccinated persons holding vaccination certificates in line with the EU Digital Covid Certificate should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine 14 days after having received the last dose. This should also cover recovered persons having received a single dose of a 2-dose vaccine. Where member states accept proof of vaccination in order to waive restrictions to free movement also in other situations, for example after the first dose in a 2-dose series, they should also accept, under the same conditions, vaccination certificates for a Covid-19 vaccine.
• Recovered persons, holding certificates in line with the EU Digital Covid Certificate should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine during the first 180 days after a positive PCR test.
• Persons with a valid test certificate in line with the EU Digital Covid Certificate should be exempted from possible quarantine requirements. The Commission proposes a standard validity period for tests: 72 hours for PCR tests and, where accepted by a member state, 48 hours for rapid antigen tests.
• ‘Emergency brake': Member States should re-introduce travel measures for vaccinated and recovered persons if the epidemiological situation deteriorates rapidly or where a high prevalence of variants of concern or interest has been reported.

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