The European Council has today adopted a recommendation on a coordinated approach to facilitate safe free movement during the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the European Council: “This recommendation responds to the significant increase in vaccine uptake and the rapid roll-out of the EU digital Covid-19 certificate, and replaces the previously existing recommendation. It will enter into force on 1 February 2022, on the same day as a delegated act amending the digital Covid-19 certificate regulation and providing for an acceptance period of 270 days for vaccination certificates”.
Under the new recommendation “Covid-19 measures should be applied taking into account the status of the person instead of the situation at regional level, with the exception of areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels. This means that a traveller’s Covid-19 vaccination, test or recovery status, as evidenced by a valid EU digital Covid-19 certificate, should be the key determinant.
“A person-based approach will substantially simplify the applicable rules and will provide additional clarity and predictability to travellers”.
The European Council outlines that a valid EU digital Covid-19 certificate includes:
- A vaccination certificate for a vaccine approved at European level if at least 14 days and no more than 270 days have passed since the last dose of the primary vaccination series or if the person has received a booster dose. Member states could also accept vaccination certificates for vaccines approved by national authorities or the WHO.
- A negative PCR test result obtained no more than 72 hours before travel or a negative rapid antigen test obtained no more than 24 hours before travel.
- A certificate of recovery indicating that no more than 180 days have passed since the date of the first positive test result.
The statement highlights that anyone who is not in possession of an EU digital Covid-19 certificate could be required to undergo a test prior to or no later than 24 hours after arrival. Travellers with an essential function or need, cross-border commuters and children under 12 should be exempt from this requirement.
Map of EU regions
The statement continues to explain that: “The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) should continue to publish a map of member states’ regions indicating the potential risk of infection according to a traffic light system (green, orange, red, dark red). The map should be based on the 14-day case notification rate, vaccine uptake and testing rate.
“Based on this map, member states should apply measures regarding travel to and from dark red areas, where the virus is circulating at very high levels. They should in particular discourage all non-essential travel and require persons arriving from those areas who are not in possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate to undergo a test prior to departure and to quarantine after arrival”.
“Under the new recommendation, the emergency brake to respond to the emergence of new variants of concern or interest is strengthened. When a member state imposes restrictions in response to the emergence of a new variant, the Council, in close cooperation with the Commission and supported by the ECDC, should review the situation. The Commission, based on the regular assessment of new evidence on variants, may also suggest a discussion within the Council.
During the discussion, the Commission could propose that the Council agree on a coordinated approach regarding travel from the areas concerned. Any situation resulting in the adoption of measures should be reviewed regularly”.
Not legally binding
Finally, it is highlighted that this is merely a recommendation and is not legally binding in any of the member states as they still remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation.
The Portuguese government is yet to comment if they will be adopting these latest recommendations.
more travel confusion
By Ian from Lisbon on 26 Jan 2022, 08:00
News Flash...The Gravy Train Days are over...No amount recommendations is going to save something you (EU) knowingly destroyed..."Economy"...Enjoy The Silence...
By Sachi Squatchmo from Porto on 26 Jan 2022, 12:31
What about those who do not have access to the Digital Certificate ( like USA residents)?
By Ron Kaba from USA on 26 Jan 2022, 17:01
Can EU bureaucrats get any more addicted to formulating unclear and unnecessary conditions for movement? What about those who present a hard or digital copy of a PCR / Antigen test certificate that's not uploaded to the EU COVID pass system (or whatever it's called)? Will they be refused boarding? And how about others who are not equipped with or choose not to use digital devices or foreigners who will may have other kinds of digital certificates? Will they be discriminated against and turned away too? And the title of this article, “EU Recommends Test-free Travel”, is misleading. The ‘options’ presented by the EU are: get jabbed; prove you’ve recovered from COVID (by getting tested); or prove you’re ‘COVID-free’ by, you guessed it - getting tested. Basically, unless you choose to get jabbed - ONLY thrice, for now - there is no such thing as test-free travel! Bonkers all this …
By Phiona from Algarve on 26 Jan 2022, 23:31
Tomorrow's headline: every single American tourist fined and deported for arriving with non-compliant test results. Airlines fined €1 billion. TAP files for bankruptcy.
By Nevadifornia from USA on 27 Jan 2022, 18:44
Non EU travellers without the Covid Cert need only have a test within 24 hours of arrival as an alternative. What’s hard to understand ? The EU governments have performed well over the past two years with our death rate well below that of the U.S. and others.
By Liam from Other on 28 Jan 2022, 02:12
On my last flight to Portugal, the guy immediately in front of me was denied boarding because he had the wrong BRAND of officially laboratory administered, paid COVID test. My friend was denied boarding to Russia because they had changed the entry rules, literally while she was on the way to the airport, and her PCR test was now 2 hours too old (26 vs. 24 hours. whereas validity had been three days that same morning). Thousands of people have been cited and fined in Portugal for arriving without compliant test results, and the airlines have been fined vastly higher amounts, despite the extremely thorough checks that occur online before people arrive at the airport, again in person at checkin, and again in person at boarding for every leg of the journey. Do you think that airlines want to be fined tens of millions of Euros? How do you suppose that so many people are being accused of violating the rules? Might it be because the rules are confusing, opaque, volatile, and basically nondeterministic?
By Nevadifornia from USA on 30 Jan 2022, 00:01