At stake are guidelines released on 17 June by the EASA and ECDC for safe air travel in terms of health in the European Union (EU), at a time when the covid-19 certificate proving vaccination is about to enter into force.
“Countries should consider vaccinated people and people who have recovered from covid-19 in the 180 days before the trip, who are not arriving from very high risk countries or areas with community circulation of worrying variants and who may providing proof of this using the EU certificate, or third country nationals using similar types of certification, should not be subjected to testing or quarantine”, said the European agencies in the guidelines released on 17 June.
According to these two European agencies, "Exceptionally, for passengers arriving from very high risk countries or areas with community circulation of variants of concern, rapid antigen detection testing could be considered before departure or upon arrival", in addition to already requested PCR tests.
With summer coming and the travel and tourism sectors expecting to resume, EASA and ECDC also argue that “the verification of a proof of health or a certificate, from a health safety perspective, is better organised upon arrival at the airport”, to avoid delays in the process.
For people in the EU who are not yet vaccinated or previously infected and who have natural immunity, European agencies propose to countries a “risk-based approach to entry measures based on risk in the country of origin and risk tolerance in the country of destination”.
In both cases, it is recommended that security measures be maintained, such as physical distance of at least one metre, use of surgical masks at all stages of the trip and filling in passenger location forms for tracking purposes.
The recommendations are not binding, as health management is a national competence of Member States, although the EASA and ECDC hope that “countries across Europe will adopt their recommendations in order to ensure harmonisation and the safe recovery of the sector of air transport and tourism”.
Earlier this week, the EU Council adopted a recommendation for a coordinated approach to travel and pointed out that vaccinated people with at least one dose or people who have recovered from covid-19 should not be subjected to restrictive measures such as quarantines or testing.
These new recommendations call into question the validity of keeping Portugal off the UK green list of travel destinations even further. If you would like to lobby your UK MP to put Portugal back on the green list then click here for further information.