Now that Europe is fully in the grip of the fourth corona wave, the European Commission wants to update the conditions for travel within the EU. For example, she proposes that the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) now also takes into account the local vaccination rate when coloring its weekly corona card. Anyone who has not been vaccinated and has not recovered from Covid-19 should be quarantined in any case when traveling to or from a dark red zone.
The Commission and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, in particular, have the main aim to continue to allow free movement within the Schengen area in a safe manner and to avoid that the Member States apply different rules, as they were at the start of the pandemic did. What the Commission is now proposing, however, still has to be approved by the Member States.
From now on, a “personal approach” will be chosen. Anyone who has a valid corona certificate and is going to travel should in principle be exempt from additional restrictions such as a test or a quarantine. It is in the same context that the Commission wants local vaccination coverage to be taken into account when drawing up the corona map. From now on, the number of newly confirmed corona cases would be compared to the percentage of vaccinated people. The applied formula then takes into account that vaccinated people are less likely to pass on the virus.
Green and dark red zones
The same colors – green, orange, red and dark red – will be kept for the corona map, but those coming from a green zone should be completely exempt from restrictions, while traveling to and from dark red zones is discouraged. Anyone who comes from such a zone with many infections and has not been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 must be tested before departure and quarantine after arrival.
The Commission is also proposing a standard validity period of corona certificates of nine months (after the first vaccination cycle). It thus takes into account ECDC guidelines, which recommend a booster vaccine after six months, and adds another three months to give citizens the opportunity to effectively have an extra shot. In concrete terms, this means that Member States must continue to accept each other’s certificates up to nine months after the first cycle.
As there are no clear scientific studies to indicate the extent to which Covid-19 can still be transmitted after a booster shot, the Commission is not yet in a position to propose a concrete period during which such additional shots will be accepted. “However, based on more and more data, it is to be expected that the protection provided by booster shots may last longer than the protection provided by the first vaccination,” it said.
The European Commission also presented an update on Thursday to its recommendation for travel from third countries to the EU. There too, priority is given to vaccinated travelers. The Commission wants Member States to open their borders not only to those who received a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca), but also to those who received a vaccine that was on the safe list. of the World Health Organization (such as Sinovac and Sinopharm from China and Covaxin from India). As an additional safety measure, travelers who have received a vaccine from the latter category should always present a negative PCR test. The same will apply to travelers who have recovered from Covid-19.
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