New hope for European travel after Australia added to list of COVID ‘danger zones’

Australians eager for a summer holiday in Europe have found hope, with the region’s ambassador assuring that free travel will resume when infection rates drop.

Last week, the European Council removed Australia from its ‘white list’ – a register of countries whose travel restrictions it recommends should be lifted.

But the European ambassador to Australia, Michael Pulch, assured that the list was regularly reviewed.

“This list is being revisited…so there is an opportunity for Australia, once infection rates come down here, to be reinstated on this list,” Ambassador Michael Pulch told the ABC.

Camera iconThe European Council has removed Australia from the whitelist due to concerns over the growth of Covid-19 infections. NCA NewsWire Christian Gilles Credit: News Corp Australia

Australia, Canada and Argentina were all dropped from the list on January 17.

According to European Council criteria, restrictions on travelers from third countries can be lifted if the rate of COVID-19 infections in the past 14 days is below 75 in 100,000.

Australia currently has 917 infections per 100,000 people – but that figure is falling.

While Australia’s listing as a ‘COVID-19 danger zone’ could be cause for concern, many countries in the EU region opposed the decision.

Camera iconBut the EU ambassador to Australia said the list was revised every two weeks. NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard Credit: News Corp Australia

“Our approach is very flexible and allows individual member states to also have their national list,” said Dr Pulch.

Cyprus, Greece and Italy have all said they will not ban non-essential travel for Australian tourists, as long as they are fully vaccinated.

But any Australian planning to buy a ticket overseas should consider getting vaccinated, with the ambassador saying the definition of fully vaccinated may be subject to change.

“It’s increasingly clear that only a booster gives you the security that in the old Delta period, double vaccination would have given you,” he said.

“That’s why we’re looking at whether or not we should redefine fully vaccinated.”

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