Explained: How Europe Travel Rules Will Change After EU Proposed Limit On Validity Of Covid Vaccine

If you are planning to travel to the European Union next year, you will need to get vaccinated after your original Covid vaccines are over nine months old.

On Thursday, the European Commission proposed a nine-month limit on the validity of the vaccine that would apply to travel within and to the EU. If the plans are approved by EU ministers, from January 10, 2022, non-EU travelers will need to show proof of an EU-approved booster vaccine once their original vaccine status is over. nine months. Likewise, travelers between member states should meet the same requirement to avoid Covid testing, quarantine and other restrictions.

What do the proposed new rules say?

The proposed updates introduce the new validity period for Covid inoculations, making it clear that reminders will be required beyond the 9-month period. But the EU said it was not ready to offer a validity period for certificates issued on the basis of recalls.

The committee is also proposing to extend its rules on the EU’s digital certificate beyond next summer, Reynders said. EU governments are pushing the bloc to smooth out rule differences to help protect the ability to travel after governments used contrasting approaches on the length of vaccinations and the management of booster shots. The commission proposes recommendations that could be implemented by member countries.

The revised rules would also allow travel to the EU for children between the ages of 6 and 17 who have had a negative PCR test before departure, even if they are not vaccinated. EU countries may require additional testing after arrival, quarantine or self-isolation. The proposals will now be submitted to Member States for approval.

As an added safeguard, proof of a negative PCR test would be required for all travelers who have been vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine that is not approved by the European Medicines Regulator, and for travelers. recovered, according to the proposals.

As part of what the committee calls ‘a streamlined approach’, from 1 March the EU would make travel entirely dependent on the status of the traveler and not on the country of origin – member states should only allow travelers vaccinated, recovered or essential. The March calendar aims to give non-EU countries time to further increase their vaccination rates.

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Why were the new rules introduced?

EU countries are scrambling to counter the fourth wave of the pandemic with varying degrees of restrictions, amid uneven vaccination rates. Germany is considering mandatory vaccines for certain vulnerable groups, Italy has placed limits on unvaccinated people and Denmark is considering imposing face masks on public transport. Austria has restricted leisure travel as part of a three-week lockdown.

A man walks past closed Christmas stalls in the empty city center of Vienna. (Photo: AP)

As the number of cases continues to rise across Europe, the EU executive plans to remove its white list of countries from which all travelers are allowed, regardless of their vaccination status, as of 1st of March. From that date, travelers vaccinated and collected with an EU Covid digital certificate, or equivalent pass, could enter the block.

The EU has vaccinated nearly two-thirds of the population and around three-quarters of adults, which is not enough to prevent an upsurge in cases caused by the more contagious Delta variant and the easing of restrictions. EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said: “We have vaccinated over 65% of the total EU population, but it is not enough. There are still too many people who are not protected. In order for everyone to travel and live in the safest possible way, we urgently need to achieve significantly higher vaccination rates. “

A sign at the Christmas market in central Frankfurt, Germany. (Photo: AP)

Did the decision have an effect on the stock market?

Shares of European airlines rose, offsetting November’s 8.2% drop in the Bloomberg EMEA Airlines Index through Wednesday. Ryanair Holdings Plc, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, rose 1.1%, while UK rival EasyJet Plc, Franco-Dutch airline Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG also rose.

The travel industry is closely monitoring the bloc’s plans. After the lifting capacity from June to October, European airlines began to withdraw. The number of seats offered on flights in Austria this week is 39% below 2019 levels, a decrease of 3 percentage points from early November, based on OAG flight tracking data. Similar declines have taken place in France and Germany.

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