While the number of daily COVID-19 infections remains high on the European continent, the number of countries in the European Union and the Schengen area facilitating travel restrictions is on the rise.
The most recent countries to move towards easing travel restrictions are Portugal and Greece. Both countries announced last week that they plan to cancel the obligation to pre-departure COVID-19 testing for those who have been vaccinated against the virus and those who have recovered from it.
On Saturday, February 5, TheSchengen.com reported that Portuguese authorities will cancel the pre-entry test obligation the following Monday for those with EU COVID-19 digital certificates, proof of vaccination, or proof of recovery from COVID-19.
The move was taken by the country’s government at a meeting last week in a bid to align travel restrictions with EU travel rules amid COVID-19.
The move was cherished by many, including the Portuguese Tourism Confederation (CTP), which described it as a very positive step towards easing travel restrictions.
“The CTP welcomes the measure approved today by the Cabinet of Ministers according to which submission of a negative COVID-19 test is no longer mandatory for entry into Portugal for those who have an EU digital certificate or other proof of vaccination,” the union said in a statement.
Greek authorities have canceled the pre-flight testing obligation for all incoming travelers with an EU digital COVID certificate, proof of vaccination, or recovery from the virus.
Announcing the move, the Greek Tourism Ministry described the move as a move to attract more tourists to the country, as the country prepares to start the summer season as early as March 1.
Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias stated in this regard: “Greek tourism has shown remarkable resilience in the past two years, sending a strong security message to travelers in our country, and it will do the same this year.”
Other EU countries have also moved towards easing travel rules, claiming that travel restrictions have not helped prevent the spread of the virus.
From Wednesday, February 9, Sweden will remove all entry restrictions for travelers from EU and EEA countries, including here for unvaccinated and non-recovered travelers. However, the country is set to keep in place travel measures imposed on travelers from third countries.