The EU is recommending member states only allow travelers from outside the bloc to enter if they have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19. Under the proposed rules, travelers would require a booster injection every nine months.
In a proposal Released on Thursday, the European Commission has recommended that from March 2022, the EU’s 27 member states allow only vaccinated, recovered or essential travelers (such as truck drivers) from outside the bloc. Prospective travelers would be required to prove they were last vaccinated no more than nine months before entry, a move that essentially makes booster shots mandatory for most travelers.
The EU currently recommends that member states admit travelers from a list of just over 20 countries with: “a good epidemiological situation.” Travelers from these locations – including Canada, New Zealand and the UAE – are allowed to enter the EU with either a vaccine certificate, proof of recovery or proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Under the new rules, this list would be abolished and individual travelers would only be admitted based on their vaccination or recovery status.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has currently approved vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Janssen. The Russian Sputnik-V is rated by the agency, as are recordings by Sanofi-GSK and the Chinese Sinopharm.
Under the new proposal, the EU would grant entry to travelers who have been vaccinated with injections approved by the World Health Organization (WHO), but not by the EMA. This would allow access to anyone who has been shot with SInopharm, Sinovac and two other Indian-made vaccines, as long as they provide a negative test result and proof of vaccination.
The Commission’s proposal must be approved by the European Council, and if adopted, it will apply to every EU country except Ireland, which is not a member of the border-free Schengen area.
About 67% of EU citizens are currently vaccinated against Covid-19, although individual countries have seen different absorption rates. But even in Ireland, which has the highest vaccination rate on the block at 93%, there are new cases of the virus every week tripled since early October, and the Irish government is considering new restrictions on everyday life.
“It is clear that the pandemic is not over yet” European Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Thursday, adding that: “Travel rules must take into account this volatile situation.”
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