Following several suggestions, the European Union countries are trying to reach an agreement, which would allow travellers to move freely within the bloc without being subject to strict COVID-19 restrictions, such as testing and quarantine.
One of the options that has been given by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and which has been put for discussion by the Member States, is to end the traffic light system that the EU currently uses. Instead of the system that is still being used, ECDC suggested that the Coronavirus rules get amended in such a way that they don’t limit the freedom of movement.
Therefore, in support of the free movement, it has been proposed that the Member States base their system on vaccination status.
If such a system gets adopted, travellers who have been fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease would be able to move freely, regardless of the epidemiologic situation of the country they are travelling from, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In support of this approach, the European Travel Commission called on governments to orient their restrictions in a more individualistic manner, urging that all those who hold a valid EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate get exempted from the testing and quarantine rules when reaching another country.
“We are hereby calling for the elimination of this colour-coded system altogether and discontinuation of travel restrictions for all Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) holders, irrespective of their country/area of origin. EU countries should thus move towards a traveller risk-based approach, rather than the country-to-country approach that is currently used,” the statement of ETC reads.
ECDC previously claimed that the traffic light system comes with downsides as every country has a different testing system, and the vaccination rates differ from one country to another.
Additionally, the same has emphasised that considering the current COVID-19 situation of EU countries, keeping in place strict travel restrictions didn’t have a notable impact in lowering the number of deaths or hospitalisations. For this reason, it has been seen as reasonable to allow travellers who meet the set conditions to travel freely.
Nonetheless, even if the current system gets dropped, it has been suggested that the Member States keep a special mechanism that would be used in case of future outbreaks.
Earlier today, SchengenVisaInfo.com reported that ETC has called on the Member States to end testing requirements. In addition, the same has asked the EU Commission and the Member States to recognise all vaccines approved for use by the World Health Organization (WHO) and accept antigen tests since they are more cost-friendly and faster than PCR tests.