EU executive urges relaxation of travel restrictions for tourists vaccinated this summer

EU executive urges relaxation of travel restrictions for tourists vaccinated this summer

BRUSSELS – The European Commission on Monday proposed that vaccinated people be exempted from testing or quarantine when traveling from one EU country to another, and called for a gradual relaxation of travel measures as people Covid-19 inoculations are accelerating.

The EU reached a deal this month on Covid-19 certificates that will indicate, via a QR code, whether a person is vaccinated, immunized based on recovery from infection, or has recently tested negative. . The program should be ready by July 1.

The EU executive, which seeks to end a current patchwork of travel measures across the bloc, said on Monday that testing or quarantines should not apply to people who have been fully vaccinated 14 days before the trip.

About half of adults in the EU have received a first dose of the vaccine.

People who have recovered from a Covid-19 infection should be exempt from restrictions for 180 days. The commission also proposed that more reliable, but more expensive, PCR tests be valid for 72 hours and rapid antigen tests for 48 hours.

Children, who are not yet in line for vaccinations, should not be subject to quarantine if traveling with exempt parents. People six years of age and older may be tested.

The commission also included an “emergency brake” to reimpose measures for travelers coming from areas where there is a wave of infections or many cases of a particular virus variant.

Travel from “dark red” areas, with more than 150 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people over 14 days, would be “strongly discouraged”, while for green areas, with less than 25 cases, there are no restrictions. ‘would apply, according to the Commission proposal. .

Only Malta is currently green.

The proposal, which will be submitted to EU member states, is similar to that already agreed for travel from outside the bloc for vaccinated travelers and those from “safe” countries, although tests may always apply.