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Official: EU to Introduce New Individual-Based Travel Restrictions From February 1

From February 1, member states of the European Union are advised to remove existing restrictions, which are based on the COVID-19 situation in the traveler’s country of departure, and replace them with restrictions based on the traveler’s status.

On Tuesday, January 25, the Council of the European Union adopted a new recommendation in another effort to facilitate safe free travel, which instructs member states to consider the condition of the traveler, rather than the country of departure, TheSchengen.com reports.

“This means that the traveler’s COVID-19 vaccination, testing or recovery status, as evidenced by a valid EU digital COVID certificate, should be the main determinant. A person-based approach will greatly simplify applicable rules and provide greater clarity and predictability for travelers,” the board notes in a press release announcing the recommendation.

The recommendation becomes effective next Tuesday, February 1, on the same day that member states limit the validity of vaccination certificates to a maximum of 270 days, while some members are preparing to make it shorter.

>> All you need to know about the new validity rules for COVID-19 vaccination passports for travel in the EU

In accordance with today’s Council decision, all restrictions on freedom of movement for travelers with a digital COVID certificate from the European Union that prove they have been vaccinated with at least two COVID-19 vaccines in the last 270 days, a refund certificate from COVID-19 issued in the last 270 days, must be lifted. 180 days, or a negative result for a test done in the last 72 hours if it was a PCR test or the last 24 hours if it was a rapid antigen test.

Those without an EU digital COVID certificate will have to be tested for COVID-19 24 hours before or after arrival. Children under the age of 12, as well as those with a job or basic need, and those traveling across borders are exempt.

Commenting on the recommendation, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Commissioner of Justice Didier Reynders said the move confirmed that having a valid EU digital COVID certificate should suffice when traveling during the pandemic.

Thus, this agreement places the EU’s COVID digital certification at the center and center of our coordinated approach. The Commissioner said it was important that Member States follow through on this agreement and implement the agreed rules without delay.

While, according to her, it is up to Member States to implement the recommendation based on their own COVID-19 situation, they should discontinue additional travel measures that have made travel more complex and less predictable across the block in recent weeks due to the prevalence of the Omicron variant.

Despite the individual-based approach, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will continue to update weekly maps indicating infection risks, according to each country’s 14-day vaccine uptake, test rate and notification rate.

Based on this map, member states should implement measures related to travel to and from areas marked in dark red, where the virus is spreading at very high levels. They should, in particular, discourage all non-essential travel and require people coming from those areas, who do not have a vaccination or recovery certificate to undergo testing before departure and quarantine after arrival,” the council notes.

The recommendation comes at a time when the Labor Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that continental Europe may be able to end the COVID-19 emergency phase in 2022 due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which has been shown to be less dangerous. .

Due to the low severity of the Omicron variant, a large proportion of Member States have recently eased travel restrictions by removing testing obligations and shortening quarantine periods, despite the spread of Omicron.

>> Better days are coming for travel, as EU countries think of treating COVID-19 like the flu

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Source: schengenvisainfo.com

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