The European Covid Digital Certificate sufficient for Travel: EU intervention Effective from February 1

 

The European Council issued a recommendation on the implementation of a coordinated approach to facilitate safe free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic. This recommendation comes in response to the significant increase in vaccination coverage and the rapid implementation of the EU digital COVID certificate , and replaces the previous recommendation. It will enter into force on 1 February 2022, the same day as the delegated act amending the COVID-19 Digital Certificate Regulation and providing for a 270-day acceptance period for vaccination certificates.

According to the new recommendation, measures for COVID-19 should be implemented taking into account the condition of the person and not the situation at the regional level, with the exception of areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels. This means that the deciding factor should be the traveler’s vaccination, diagnostic or recovery status in relation to COVID-19, as evidenced by a valid EU COVID digital certificate. An individual-based approach will simplify significantly apply the current rules and will provide additional clarity and predictability to travelers.

Individual based approach

Travelers holding a valid EU COVID digital certificate should not be subject to additional restrictions on free movement.

  • Vaccination certificate  for a vaccine approved at European level if at least 14 days have elapsed and not more than 270 days after the last dose of the initial vaccination series or if the person has received a booster dose. Member States may also accept vaccination certificates for vaccines approved by the national authorities or the WHO.
  • Negative  result in  PCR test received no later than 72 hours before the trip or negative result in rapid antigen test obtained no later than 24 hours before the trip.
  • Certificate of recovery  stating that no more than 180 days have elapsed from the date of the first positive diagnostic result.

Individuals who do not hold an EU COVID digital certificate may be required to undergo a diagnostic test no later than or 24 hours after arrival. Travelers with essential duties or needs, cross-border workers and children under the age of 12 should be exempt from this requirement.

Map of EU regions

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) should continue to publish maps of Member States’ regions showing the potential risk of infection under the “traffic light” system (green, orange, red, deep red). The map should be based on the 14-day case reporting rate, vaccination coverage and diagnostic rate.

Based on this map, Member States should implement measures related to  travel to and from areas in deep red where the virus is circulating at very high levels. In particular, they should discourage all unnecessary travel and require those arriving from those areas who do not hold a vaccination or recovery certificate to undergo a pre-departure diagnostic and quarantine upon arrival.

Some exceptions to these measures should apply to travelers with essential duties or needs, cross-border workers and children under the age of 12.

“Emergency brake”

According to the new recommendation, the “emergency brake” mechanism is strengthened to deal with the emergence of new worrying variants or variants of special interest. When a Member State imposes restrictions in response to the emergence of a new variant, the Council, in close cooperation with the Commission and with the support of the ECDC, should reconsider the situation. The Commission may also propose a discussion in the Council, on the basis of regular evaluation of new variants.

During the debate, the Commission may propose that the Council agree on a coordinated approach to travel from the respective regions. Any situation that leads to action should be reviewed regularly.

Record

The decision to impose restrictions on free movement for the protection of public health remains the responsibility of the Member States; however, coordination on this issue is essential. On 13 October 2020, the Council adopted a Recommendation on the implementation of a coordinated approach to restricting free movement to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, which was updated on 1 February 2021 and 14 June 2021. This Recommendation establishes common criteria and a common framework for possible measures for travelers.

The Council Recommendation is not a legally binding act. The authorities of the Member States are responsible for implementing the content of the Recommendation.

Source – money tourism

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