Coronavirus (COVID-19) News Desk World

Tue 04 May 2021:

The European Commission recommends that member states allow the entry of citizens from non-EU countries who have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus using a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Currently four jabs – Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson&Johnson – are authorized by the European Medicines Agency, and the regulator is reviewing the Russian Sputnik V jab.

Individuals should receive the last recommended dose 14 days before their arrival.

The Commission also wants member states to lift all travel restrictions, such as testing and quarantine on arrival, for the fully vaccinated tourists entering their territory. This should apply to both EU and non-EU residents.

In order to issue this recommendation, which still has to be approved by member states, the executive is taking into account scientific advice indicating that vaccination “considerably helps to break the transmission chain”.

The European Commission expects the changes to be adopted by the end of May, but it would enter into force once EU states apply the digital green certificate for their own citizens. The regulation on green certificates is expected to be approved by June the earliest.

The bloc decided to restrict the entry of non-EU nationals to its territory last March in order to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the moment, non-essential travel is allowed for the residents of Australia, China, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand regardless of their vaccination status due to the good epidemiological status of these countries.

Besides taking into account vaccination, the Commission also recommends expanding the list of countries that are considered to have a “good epidemiological situation” and whose residents are allowed to enter the bloc for non-essential reasons.

It would allow other non-EU nationals to enter the bloc even if they have received a different jab or not been inoculated by showing a valid PCR test and undergoing quarantine.

The European Commission is only responsible for proposing recommendation on imposing or lifting travel restriction on citizens from non-EU countries in order to encourage EU member states to coordinate their actions.

In reality, EU countries can freely decide to whom to open their borders.

If the epidemiological situation of a non-EU country worsens quickly and, in particular, if a coronavirus variant is detected, any EU country will be able to “urgently and temporarily suspend all inbound travel by non-EU citizens resident in such a country”, the Commission said.

This “emergency break” should be discussed in close cooperation with the other 26 member states and the Commission.

Those travelling for essential reasons (such as healthcare professionals, seasonal workers, family reasons or study) should continue to be allowed to enter the EU, “regardless of whether they are vaccinated or which country they come from”, the Commission added.




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