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Unvaccinated EU Nationals to Face Harsher Travel Restrictions From January 10, 2022

Unveiling a recommendation to update the rules for coordinating safe and free travel in the EU amid COVID-19, the EU Commission has also proposed changing the way countries are classified under the traffic light map from January 10, 2022.

The map, published weekly by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), currently takes into account the number of COVID-19 cases, testing and death rates. The committee now wants the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention to update the maps taking into account the effects of increased vaccination.

“Taking into account the progress made with regard to the uptake of the vaccine, the committee proposes to adopt the criteria and thresholds used in the traffic light map. The criterion for new cases should be weighted by the uptake of the vaccine in the same area, to take into account that vaccination reduces the risk of transmission of COVID-19,” the committee notes In her suggestion with the addition that the test rate should constitute the third criterion.

If the proposal were applied to the way ECDC rates the level of risk in EU countries, some countries, such as Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, would remain in the dark red category for a very long time, regardless of the COVID – 19 case rates in their territories, until they could vaccinate a proportion of Larger population to get vaccinated.

To date, EU countries with the lowest rates of fully vaccinated populations:

Bulgaria 24.8% Romania 37.3 percent Slovakia 45.8 percent Croatia 46.8 percent Poland 53.7% Slovenia 54.3% Hungary 59.1 percent

This means that travelers from these countries who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and who have not recovered from either COVID-19 will be subject to more entry restrictions starting in January, compared to those vaccinated against COVID-19 and those who have recovered from the virus.

The commission recommends maintaining the current map colors, ‘green’, ‘orange’, ‘red’ and ‘dark red’. Thus, travel to countries with low vaccination rates would also be discouraged for EU citizens.

With the same recommendation, the EU Commission has proposed making certificates of COVID-19 vaccination valid for only nine months instead of 12 months. It also suggested that third doses be included in digital COVID-19 vaccine certificates, adding that a certificate should be issued after each dose is given.

On the same day, on November 25, the European Union Commission proposed that member states open their borders to non-EU travelers who have been fully vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the World Health Organization (WHO). So far, the majority of EU countries only allow entry for those who have been vaccinated with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen.

>> France recognizes 5 COVID-19 vaccines for travel

>> Italy: Recognizing COVID-19 vaccines for travel

>> Norway only recognizes EMA approved travel vaccines

>> Germany allows entry to travelers with 5 COVID-19 vaccines, including Covishield

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