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Commission Tables More Covid-19 Measures for EU-bound Travelers 

Photo source: @European Commission

Mandatory testing before departure, stricter measures to address virus variants, and a common European Passenger Locator Form are additional ideas tabled by the European Commission in response to safe travel in the Covid-19 era.

The announcement came after the Commission proposed an update to the Council’s October recommendations on coordinating measures affecting free movement in the EU in response to the  pandemic.

In view of emerging virus strains and amid fears of a possible third wave, the Commission proposed additional restrictions to apply to all travelers from outside the EU.

Citing the latest scientific guidance, the Commission said updated criteria would take into account the testing rate, testing positivity and detection of variants of concern when deciding on restraints concerning non-essential travel into the EU. 

“We are making it easier for essential travelers to get their Covid-19 test results recognized across the EU. While non-essential travel is not encouraged, we are increasing EU coordination on testing for essential travels,” said the Commission.

The Commission now calls on member states to introduce additional measures applicable to people traveling to the EU for essential reasons, EU citizens and long-term residents and family members, and to travelers from countries for which the non-essential travel restriction was lifted.

Key proposals include:

mandatory testing before departure: EU states should require travelers to take a Covid-19 PCR test 72 hours before departure and provide a negative test

-EU citizens, residents and their family members should be able to take the test after arrival. Mandatory testing may be combined with quarantine and contact tracing requirements as well as additional testing as needed for a period of up to 14 days, provided EU states impose the same requirements on their own nationals when traveling from the same non-EU country 

exceptions should be considered for some categories of essential travelers including transport and cross-border workers who should be exempted from the negative test requirement. They will only be requested to present a negative rapid test result on arrival. Specific rules apply for aircrew

-with regard to incoming travel from countries where virus variants have been identified: member states should impose self-isolation, quarantine and contact tracing for a period of up to 14 days as well as request additional tests upon or after arrival  

-travelers entering the EU should be required to complete a Common European Passenger Locator Form in accordance with applicable data protection requirements

-member states should continue to take account of the reciprocity granted to EU countries.  

Once the Commission’s proposal is adopted, EU countries will be required to implement the additional measures set and review the list of non-EU countries from where restrictions should be lifted.

“The situation in Europe with the new variants has led us to take difficult but necessary decisions. We need to keep safe and discourage non-essential travel,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Monday.

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