EU eyes shift in Covid travel rules to individuals

Travellers going from one EU country to another will not face any additional restrictions if they can show a Covid certificate.


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Published: Tue 25 Jan 2022, 8:55 PM

EU member states on Tuesday recommended changing the way Covid travel rules are applied in the bloc, shifting away from the risk profile of countries to that of individuals.

“Under the new recommendation, Covid-19 measures should be applied taking into account the status of the person instead of the situation at regional level, with the exception of areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels,” the European Council — representing the member states — said in a statement.

It suggests that travellers going from one EU country to another should not face any additional restrictions if they can show an EU Covid certificate proving they are fully vaccinated, have a recent negative test, or a certificate that they have recovered from Covid in the preceding six months.

That is already largely the situation across the European Union, although some individual countries had tightened restrictions against neighbouring states with higher infection rates.

The vaccination proviso in the recommendation is for those who can show they have had a booster shot, or if their last shot from the “primary vaccination series” is within the previous nine months.

An “emergency brake” provision is included, under which “coordinated” restrictions may be applied to an EU country or region where a new variant of concern emerges.

“As a general principle, we want to make sure that if you are properly vaccinated, and if you have Digital Covid certificate, that it should make the travelling across the EU easier,” commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic told a news conference.


France’s Europe minister Clement Beaune said that, while the recommendation was not binding, it aimed to ensure vaccinated people face only “limited, proportionate restrictions” to their movements in the EU.

The EU has 71 percent of the population fully vaccinated — usually with a two-dose regime — and has administered boosters to 41 per cent, according to Oxford University’s Our World in Data project.

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