Unlocking the World

EU wants test-free travel for vaccinated residents

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNNPublished 25th January 2022
Testing could soon be dropped for residents traveling between EU member states.
(CNN) — Traveling around Europe may be about to get less complicated for fully vaccinated travelers from countries within the European Union.
The EU is recommending that vaccinated residents should not be required to undergo testing or quarantine measures when entering member states.
Under the new advice, which comes into effect on February 1, restrictions would be lifted for those who hold a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate in a "coordinated approach to facilitate safe free movement" across Europe.
This means that fully vaccinated travelers could be allowed to move freely around the bloc's 27 member states provided each country follows the guidance.
Individual EU destinations are permitted to issue their own additional restrictions, and many have opted to do so since the bloc's first recommendations on restrictions were issued at the start of the pandemic.

'Co-ordinated approach'

While the guidance change would also apply to those who've recently recovered from Covid-19, testing requirements would remain in place for the unvaccinated.
"This recommendation responds to the significant increase in vaccine uptake and the rapid roll-out of the EU Digital Covid certificate, and replaces the previously existing recommendation," a statement from the European Council says.
The update guidance, which was announced on Tuesday, stresses that "a traveler's Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery status, as evidenced by a valid EU digital Covid Certificate, should be the key determinant" for travel within Europe moving forward.
However, exceptions may be advisable with regards to "travel to and from dark red areas, where the virus is circulating at very high levels."
Those who do not hold a digital certificate may be required to undergo a test no later than 24 hours after their arrival.
The news comes after Dr. Hans Kluge, director for the World Health Organization's European region, released a statement indicating that the emergence of the Omicron variant may lead to an end to "the emergency phase" of the pandemic this year.
"Omicron offers plausible hope for stabilization and normalization," he said, before warning nations not to drop their guard just yet as, "too many people who need the vaccine remain unvaccinated."
Top photo: A testing facility at Brandenburg Airport in Berlin, (STEFANIE LOOS/AFP/Getty Images)