The World Health Organization (WHO) said through a statement on international travel regulations that the international travel ban must be lifted or eased because the strict measures have proven ineffective.
“Lift or relax the ban on international traffic because it does not provide added value and continues to contribute to the economic and social pressures experienced by States Parties,” the WHO statement said.
According to the latter, the large number of newly reported cases of infection indicates that travel restrictions have not stopped the spread of the Omicron variant within the European continent.
For this reason, the World Health Organization has suggested that travel rules, including testing and quarantine requirements, be based on risk assessments and avoid placing a financial burden on international travelers, TheSchengen.com reports.
In addition, the World Health Organization has urged countries not to only require proof of vaccination against COVID-19, suggesting that they should allow entry to those with other certifications given the uneven distribution of vaccines.
“Do not require proof of COVID-19 vaccination for international travel as the only route or case permitting international travel due to limited global access and unfair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” the WHO added.
It was demonstrated that although vaccines do not eliminate the risk of transmission of COVID-19, they are still effective in reducing the risk of serious illness and death.
Thus, it has been considered of great importance to create a global strategy that ensures protection of high-risk populations by focusing primarily on countries with low vaccination rates.
Although the World Health Organization has made such a call, a large proportion of EU/Schengen area countries have already announced that they will shorten the validity of vaccination permits from 1 February. This means that they do not plan to abolish the requirement to provide a certificate of vaccination any time soon.
Moreover, despite the fact that the majority of EU countries and the Schengen area have tightened their entry rules, the Omicron variant is still widely spread within the continent.
Previously, SchengenvVisaInfo.com reported that despite adhering to strict rules, all EU/Schengen area countries are currently dealing with very increased infection rates of Omicron.
The latest map update by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control shows that France, Italy, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands had the highest cases over the past seven days.