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EU Tells Member States to Review Essential Travel Restrictions Daily Due to COVID-19 Omicron Variant

The European Union Commission today presented a new proposal, on the European Union’s joint and coordinated approach to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus, in particular the newly discovered variant Omicron, across member states.

The proposal lists, among other things, a daily review of essential travel restrictions as one way to combat the spread of the virus through travel.

“The EU and Member States should continue to implement a common strategy to limit the entry of the Omicron variant into the EU, with regular daily reviews of essential travel restrictions. The EU and Member States must stand ready to impose all necessary controls”, the proposal indicates in this regard.

Currently, the majority of member states review travel restrictions only once a week. For example, the German Institute for Disease Prevention and Control updates the list of high-risk areas and virus variants only on Fridays.

>> Germany classifies 8 countries as virus changing regions, removes 7 from high risk list

Other countries like Norway, Estonia, Lithuania, Czech Republic etc, also update their lists of safe and unsafe countries on Fridays. On the other hand, Cyprus updates the list every Tuesday, while Spain updates the list on Mondays.

>> Cyprus moves Spain, Italy, Portugal and Vatican City to high risk list

Other countries, such as France, update their lists of safe and unsafe countries from time to time, as needed.

Recently, after South African scientists discovered a new type of coronavirus – now called Omicron – the majority of European Union and Schengen area countries imposed travel restrictions on countries in the South African region.

None of these countries said how long the ban on travel from southern Africa would remain in place. However, they all cautioned that new restrictions will be imposed on countries where increasing cases of Omicron are detected.

Unfolding its proposal for a joint and coordinated EU approach to effectively addressing the challenges arising from the increase in coronavirus cases in Europe, the Commission has also urged member states to implement the revised approach to freedom of movement with a record validity period of nine months under the EU Digital COVID certification.

Last week, the Commission recommended that member states make their COVID-19 vaccination certificates valid for only nine months in a bid to make travel across the bloc safer amid the pandemic.

While this week the commission also suggested that member states renew campaigns to target those who are not immunized and who are reluctant to get vaccinated. It also urged the EU government to start administering booster doses, starting with the most vulnerable groups.

>> The European Union Commission recommends reopening borders for travelers vaccinated with WHO approved vaccines

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