In May 21 the EU reached a deal regarding a digital Covid-19 certificates scheme which should be ready by July 1st, and will use a QR code to show whether a person is vaccinated, immune due to recovery from the virus, or has had a recent negative test. Yesterday, the European Commission proposed that vaccinated people should be able to travel from one EU country to another without having to test or quarantine, and that travel measures should be gradually eased as Covid-19 vaccinations speed up.
As the epidemiological situation is improving and vaccination campaigns are speeding up, we propose that EU countries gradually ease travel measures, including most importantly for the holders of the EU Digital COVID Certificate.— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) May 31, 2021
→ https://t.co/ezddFkzdpt #EUCOVIDCertificate pic.twitter.com/3OM6jyLOb9
The European Union executive hoping to end the large variation of travel measures across the bloc which exists at the moment, argued that neither testing nor quarantines should apply to those travellers who have been fully vaccinated 14 days prior to travel. Currently around half of EU adults have received their first dose of the vaccine. However, Didier Reynders, Commissioner for Justice, made clear that this is just a recommendation and that member states will remain free to apply their own rules. National governments will also be free to either accept of reject a vaccine passport from someone who has only received one dose of the vaccine, he said.
@EU_Commission proposes a recommendation to EU Member States for the gradual lifting of#FreeMovement restrictions, taking into account the new EU Digital #COVID Certificate. 🇪🇺https://t.co/cwijF0WVY9— Didier Reynders (@dreynders) May 31, 2021
The Commission proposed that more reliable, but more expensive PCR tests be valid for 72 hours and rapid antigen tests for 48 hours, whilst those who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection should be exempt from restrictions for 180 days. Meanwhile children, not yet in line for vaccinations, should not have to undergo a quarantine when travelling with parents who are exempt, although those aged six and older can be subject to tests.
EU countries are now slowly lifting COVID-19 restrictions both domestically and regarding travel.— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) May 31, 2021
We propose that they coordinate this gradual lifting of free movement restrictions, taking into account our new common tool: the EU Digital COVID Certificate.#EUCOVIDCertificate pic.twitter.com/H83lMqvOAo
An “emergency brake” was also proposed, which enables the to re-imposing of measures for travellers from areas where there is wither a surge of infections or lots of cases of a particular variant. The colour-coded map published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows the current status of countries across the Bloc. The Commission proposal explained that travel from “dark red” areas with more than 150 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over 14 days, would be “strongly discouraged”, while for green areas with fewer than 25 cases, no restrictions would apply. Malta is currently the only green country.
The proposal is similar to the one already agreed for travel from outside the EU for vaccinated travellers as well as those coming from “safe” countries (although tests can still apply). The new proposal is being put to EU member states and we await the next steps.