Europe’s COVID-19 Outbreaks Identified on Updated Maps
The European Commission (EC) proposed an update to the Council Recommendation for travel on May 31, 2021.
As the epidemiological situation is improving and vaccination campaigns are speeding up all over the EU, the Commission is now proposing that Member States gradually ease travel measures, stated the EC on June 11, 2021.
In support of the EC proposal, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published updated maps as a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These ECDC maps are updated weekly based on data reported by the EU Member States to The European Surveillance System database.
Given the problematic epidemiological situation linked to more infectious coronavirus variants, Member States should strongly discourage all non-essential travel to and from ‘dark red’ and discourage all such travel to and from ‘red’ areas.
Based on the common maps, Member States will decide whether they introduce certain restrictions, such as quarantine or tests, on travelers coming from other areas. Member States have agreed that there will be no restrictions, such as quarantine or testing, on travelers from ‘green’ regions.
Member States that consider it necessary to introduce restrictions to free movement, based on their own decision-making processes, could require persons traveling from an area classified other than ‘green’ to undergo quarantine/self-quarantine; and/or take a test for COVID-19 infection before or after arrival.
It is up to the Member States to decide what measures to apply on people traveling from risk areas to their territories and whether to require an RT-PCR or rapid antigen test. Member States can also instruct people entering their territory to submit passenger locator forms according to data protection requirements.
However, measures must not be discriminatory, meaning they must also apply to returning Member State nationals.
The proposal also includes specific provisions on children to ensure unity of traveling families and a standard validity period for tests, including holders of the new EU Digital COVID Certificate.
EU President Ursula von der Leyen stated in late May 2021, “We are delivering on our commitment to having the EU Digital COVID Certificate up and running before the summer.”
“The EU Digital COVID Certificate is free of charge, secure, and accessible to all. It will cover vaccination, test, and recovery offering different options to the citizens. Furthermore, it fully respects citizens' fundamental rights, including the protection of personal data.”
“All EU citizens have a fundamental right to free movement in the EU.”
Getting vaccinated against infectious diseases is one of the most effective ways to protect your health while traveling abroad. Most travel vaccines need to be administered at least 1-month before departure to ensure maximum protection, says the U.S. CDC.
Recently, the CDC issued updated Travel Alerts for various EU countries as of June 7, 2021, which can be found at this CDC link.
CoronavirusToday publishes research-based COVID-19 pandemic news.