EU Moves Closer To Allowing In Non-Resident Vaccinated Travelers

EU to Ease Travel Restrictions for Vaccinated Foreign Tourists

The European Commission has called on member states to allow people to travel freely into the bloc as soon as they are fully vaccinated.

The head of the European Commission said Monday that she is recommending that nonresident travelers vaccinated against COVID-19 and those from "countries with a good health situation" be allowed to travel to the European Union this summer.

The easing of restrictions on nonessential travel, which will be welcomed by countries desperate to revive struggling tourism industries, would also allow for an "emergency brake" should infection rates rise again.

After almost a year of closed borders, the European Union could open in June to fully vaccinated vacationers from countries with low Covid infection rates in time for summer under a plan revealed on Monday.

The European Medicines Agency has authorised the use of shots by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca in the EU.

"Member states could also extend this to those vaccinated with a vaccine having completed the World Health Organization emergency use listing process", an EC statement added.

As it stands, though, neither Russia's Sputnik V vaccine nor ones made by China would be included, excluding jabs that are used in dozens of lower-income countries.

The European Commission is recommending EU member states agree to restart the bloc's vital tourist industry in time for the European summer after a wipe-out season a year ago when travel plummeted worldwide.

The proposal of the commission received applause from the elements of the EU.

"If we stay out, that would mean we would be very much isolated in terms of access to Europe", he said.

He said he hoped to see "a gradual convergence" of vaccine certificate registration in the USA to overcome the current fragmented situation of U.S. states issuing many different certificates, making verification hard internationally. "But we see how quickly the situation in the United States evolves, notably for the rate of vaccination".

Until now, the Commission had only proposed lifting restrictions on arrivals from a limited number of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand with a similar plan for Chinese travellers pending a deal on reciprocity.

"Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, member states should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries", the Commission said, adding that children who are excluded from vaccination should be able to travel with their vaccinated parents if they provide a negative PCR test.

The bloc would also create a new way to halt travel quickly from countries with new concerning variants of the coronavirus, in effect setting up a system that is far more open than now but could also snap shut as needed.

A woman takes a smartphone photograph as a healthcare worker administers a dose of a Covid-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination center inside the Fira de Barcelona exhibition space in Barcelona, Spain.



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