Healthplan Spain


EU Recommends Member States Adopt Individual-Based Travel Restrictions From February Spain News

European Union Member States have been advised to withdraw the current travel restrictions, which are based on the Covid-19 circumstances on the country a traveller resides in. Instead, the EU Council wants travel to be based on the traveller's individual Covid situation.

The EU Council endorsed the new recommendation on Tuesday, January 25, in a bid to make safe free movement possible.

In a press release, the Council noted that “This means that a traveller’s COVID-19 vaccination, test or recovery status, as evidenced by a valid EU digital COVID certificate, should be the key determinant. A person-based approach will substantially simplify the applicable rules and will provide additional clarity and predictability to travellers.

The new proposal will become effective on Tuesday, February 1, the same day in which the Member States will shorten the validity of vaccination certificates to a maximum of 270 days. It is said that some of the members are also set to make them even shorter.

According to the Councils decision, all constraints to free movement should be removed for travellers who hold an EU digital COVID certificate that “proves they have been vaccinated with at least two COVID-19 vaccines in the last 270 days, a certificate of recovery from COVID-19 issued in the last 180 days, or a negative result of a test taken in the last 72 hours if it is PCR or the last 24 hours if it is a rapid antigen test.

Those who do not hold an EU Digital COVID certificate will have to take a rapid antigen test 24 hours before arrival. Children under the age of 12 are exempt, as are cross-border travellers.

Commenting on the new recommendation, the Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders and the Commissioner for Health, Stella Kyriakides, said that the move verifies that having a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate should be adequate enough when travelling during the pandemic.

This agreement thus puts the EU Digital COVID Certificate at the heart and centre of our coordinated approach. It is important that the Member States follow up on this agreement and implement the rules agreed without delay,” the Commissioners said.

They also believe it is now up to the Member States themselves to apply the recommendation based on their own COVID situation.

Despite the changes, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will still update the maps weekly, stipulating which countries are at ‘high risk’ of infections, this will be based on each country’s 14-day vaccine roll-out, testing rate and notification rate.

The Council notes that “Based on this map, member states should apply measures regarding travel to and from dark red areas, where the virus is circulating at very high levels. They should, in particular, discourage all non-essential travel and require persons arriving from those areas, who are not in possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate to undergo a test prior to departure and to quarantine after arrival.

This new measure follows the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration that ‘the continent of Europe may be able to end the Covid-19 emergency phase in 2022 due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant proving to be less severe.

Commissioner for Health Stella Kyriakides, said: “We now call on all Member States to implement the common rules swiftly to ensure coordination and clarity for our citizens and travellers.