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EU mulls entry only for vaccinated international travelers

EU Commission proposes to allow entry for people vaccinated with WHO-approved jabs, repealing current country lists

Agnes Szucs   | 25.11.2021
EU mulls entry only for vaccinated international travelers

BRUSSELS 

The European Commission proposed on Thursday to open the bloc’s external borders only to vaccinated travelers, revoking the current system of country lists granting access regardless of vaccination status.

“We are moving away from this country-based approach to an individual-based approach which means that all vaccinated people can come to the European Union,” EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson announced.

The European Commission suggests EU member states gradually open their borders to international travelers who take non-essential trips to the bloc in order to abolish the current regime of country lists granting access based on nationality and not considering the vaccination status.

As the first step, the EU executive body recommends EU states immediately allow non-essential trips for people vaccinated with a jab approved by the European Medicines Agency, namely the products of pharma companies Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson&Johnson.

As of Jan. 10, people vaccinated by a jab that was only approved by the World Health Organization and not the EMA, as well as those recovered from the illness should also be able to travel if they show a valid PCR test.

The WHO has approved the four above-mentioned vaccines, as well as the Covishield, Covaxin, Sinopharm, and Sinovac jabs.

The bloc would also require a PCR test for children aged between 5 and 17.

As of March 1, the European Commission invites member states to allow entry for only fully vaccinated travelers and to repeal the travel list granting free entry based on nationality.

Following the EU executive body’s recommendations on the bloc’s COVID pass, the EU will require that travelers either have completed their vaccination series less than nine months ago or received a booster dose.

The EU countries will assess if they adopt the recommendation.

Under the current rules, only residents from Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait, Namibia, New Zealand, Peru, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay can enter the EU for non-essential trips regardless of their vaccination status.

The travel list is updated every two weeks.

The bloc imposed travel restrictions last March in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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