The starting gun has been fired in a “relaxing” summer holiday season for people living in the EU starting July 1, as Brussels proposed lifting all quarantine obligations for those who are fully vaccinated against Covid. -19.
Starting Tuesday, a system will be ready that will allow member states to issue a Covid digital passport to citizens who prove their status and allow them to travel.
With infection rates on a downward trajectory across the bloc, a July 1 deadline has been set for all 27 EU countries to accept documentation as sufficient proof of vaccination for restrictions to be lifted.
A negative test or proof of recovery from the infection will confer the same rights on the certificate holder. The European Commission has proposed a standard validity period for tests: 72 hours before travel for PCR tests and 48 hours for rapid antigen tests.
Children of those who are fully vaccinated will also be exempt from quarantine under the proposal and, at a minimum, no one under the age of six should be tested. Many countries are likely to set a higher age threshold for testing minors.
The intention is for fully vaccinated UK travelers to benefit from the Covid passport system but, in light of the emerging variant first identified in India, EU governments may still impose restrictions on people arriving from the UK. Kingdom, including testing and quarantine obligations.
Since Monday, entry into France has been limited to EU citizens, French residents and those traveling for essential purposes. People arriving from the UK must have tested negative and be quarantined for seven days.
While a sudden deterioration in Covid infection rates in the EU could lead to the use of an “emergency brake” for the lifting of restrictions within the bloc, the intention is to reintroduce free movement when the summer tourist season begins.
Ursula von der Leyen, chair of the commission, tweeted: “Europeans should have a safe and relaxing summer. As vaccination progresses, we propose to gradually facilitate travel measures in a coordinated way with our common tool: the EU digital covid certificate. It will bring clarity and predictability as we resume free travel in the EU. “
In addition to lifting the quarantine for those fully vaccinated as of July 1, the commission has proposed that anyone coming from a “green” region of the EU, such as western Finland, where fewer than 25 cases have been recorded for every 100,000 people during the previous 14 days, it should be completely free of restrictions.
Those who are not fully vaccinated and who come from an “orange” area, with a 14-day cumulative Covid-19 case notification rate of 75, will need to take a pre-departure test.
Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, said: “The last few weeks have brought a continuous downward trend in the number of infections, demonstrating the success of vaccination campaigns across the EU.
“In parallel, we are also promoting affordable and widely available testing capabilities. In this context, member states are now slowly lifting Covid-19 restrictions both domestically and with regard to travel. “
The UK has yet to be added to a “whitelist” of non-EU countries from where the EU recommends that unvaccinated travelers can safely enter the block for non-essential reasons. Despite the delay, countries like Portugal have opened their doors to British tourists.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism