The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the EU’s official public health agency, has suggested that COVID-19 rules and restrictions should be amended as the current color-coded system limits freedom of movement.
The system has been in effect since October last year when EU member states adopted a council recommendation on a coordinated approach to restrictions on freedom of movement. The recommendation identified four main areas in which EU countries will coordinate their efforts, which are as follows:
Common Mapping System Common Standards for Entry Restrictions Clarity on the application of rules for travelers from high-risk countries Clear and timely information
Now, ECDC has proposed changes to the system and relaxing travel rules for vaccinated travelers this week at meetings of EU health professionals, during which they discussed how to safely open up as more people receive.
In line with the agency’s advice, if such a system is dropped, travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will not be restricted from making trips to and from areas that have identified high infection rates, TheSchengen.com reports.
Currently, ECDC classifies EU countries on different colored lists – green, yellow, red, dark red and gray – depending on their COVID-19 infection rates. In addition, the agency also differentiates between countries based on the rate of vaccination and testing, and the percentage of positive tests.
According to Reuters, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention emphasized that the traffic light system has its downsides, as each country has a different testing system, and vaccination rates differ from each other.
In addition, the same report stated that taking into account the current situation of the European Union countries, the imposition of travel restrictions had not had a noticeable effect on reducing the number of deaths, hospitalizations, or even the spread of new strains of COVID-19.
“The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention is proposing to consider discontinuing the use of the combined index due to the limited public health value and instead focus on promoting vaccination among travelers,” the European Health Organization said in a presentation seen by Reuters.
>> The European Union’s health agency says travel to Denmark, Italy, France and Finland is now safer
Aside from advising on changes that would help ease travel between EU member states, the center has also made sure to present some options for change, including the use of data on vaccine uptake.
This means that if countries base their system on vaccination status and use vaccine uptake as one of the indicators, more people will be encouraged to receive the vaccination as they will then be allowed to travel freely.
Although ECDC did not offer a specific option that EU countries should follow, the agency indirectly claimed that its main goal is to assess rules and requirements that apply primarily to travelers who have not yet been vaccinated.
Previously, during its latest update, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised EU countries to ease entry rules for travelers from Spain, France, Malta and Italy since the COVID-19 situation in these countries has improved dramatically.
>> In early October, he clarified the EU travel restrictions