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EU agencies advise dropping face mask rules for air travel

Passengers are still recommended to cover their nose, mouth if sick

Agnes Szucs   | 11.05.2022
EU agencies advise dropping face mask rules for air travel

BRUSSELS

EU agencies advised on Wednesday to drop rules on the mandatory wearing of face masks for air travel from next week.

“The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) issued an update to the health safety measures for air travel, paving the way for a relaxation of the need to wear medical masks on board a flight,” read a joint statement.

It, however, noted that a face mask is still one of the best protections against the transmission of COVID-19.

The decision has considered the latest developments in the pandemic, the relaxation of health measures in EU countries, as well as the high vaccination ratio of the population, the statement added.

"For many passengers, and also aircrew members, there is a strong desire for masks to no longer be a mandatory part of air travel. We are now at the start of that process," said Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director.

He urged passengers to “make responsible decisions and respect the choices of others around them,” asking travelers with flu symptoms to wear a face mask.

"While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal," said ECDC Director Andrea Ammon.

The new recommendations will enter into force on May 16, but airlines can apply the measures with a delay or depending on the destinations.

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