Attention travellers! European Union proposes reopening external borders

04 Mai, 2021, 01:24 | Auteur: Adelaide Bullion
  • Travellers at the Ben Gurion International Airport near Tel Aviv

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. But with the summer season looming, the European Commission hopes that the new recommendations will help dramatically expand that list.

"We propose to allow entry to the E.U. for nonessential reasons", said European Commission spokesman Adalbert Jahnz, "for all people who have received the last recommended dose of an E.U. -authorized vaccine".

Coronavirus vaccines authorised by the European Medicines Agency, the bloc's drug regulator, include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson. The EMA has not approved any vaccines from Russian Federation or China as of yet but is looking at data for Russia's Sputnik V jab. The proposals require approval from member states and a Commission official said he was hopeful they would be adopted by the end of this month.

The commission said that vaccines that have completed the World Health Organization emergency use listing process may also be included.

It was unclear which countries would actually make the cut but an European Union official who was not authorized to be quoted because the proposal has yet to be adopted said Israel would definitely be on the list.

Although air passenger numbers in the United States remain historically low, the USA has been rebounding, with the Transportation Security Administration reporting 1.67 million people were screened at airports on Sunday, compared to only around 170,000 a year ago.

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The Commission also proposed to raise the threshold related to the number of new COVID-19 cases used to determine the list of countries from which all travel should be permitted. Non-vaccinated citizens of non-European countries would be allowed to visit as the health situation improves in their countries.

The plans will be discussed by the ambassadors of European countries on May 5, and once signed off the list of safe countries will be reviewed every two weeks.

"We should be pursuing routes with other countries that have similar vaccination rates, like the US".

The bloc is working on the introduction of a vaccine passport system that will ease travel for those inoculated or can prove that they have recently recovered from the coronavirus and are thus considered immune.

"Until the digital green certificate is operational, member states should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries", the Commission said, adding that unvaccinated children should be able to travel with their vaccinated parents if they provide a negative PCR test.

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