Sunday 20 June 2021

EU paves the way for test-free cross border travel using coronavirus app

Photo: DutchNews.nl

EU member states have reached agreement on how to organise cross border travel this summer and have decided people who have been fully vaccinated won’t have to take a coronavirus test or go into quarantine.

The 27 member states, including the Netherlands, backed a European Commission proposal which clears the way for free travel for people who have been fully vaccinated for at least two weeks. The Netherlands had called for a shorter period.

From July 1, travellers will be able to show that they have either been vaccinated, have had a negative test or recently had coronavirus all by using a QR code on their mobile phones.

However, people from the age of 12 who have not been vaccinated fully will have to have a negative coronavirus test for travel between two countries, unless both have a green risk level.

Member states have also reached a deal on defining whether a country has a red, amber or green risk level. Countries are currently classified as ‘green’ if they have fewer than 25 infections per 100,000 people, but this will be doubled to 50.

And if the positive test ratio is below 1%, 75 out of 100,000 positive tests will also qualify as green.

An orange zone is one in which there are no more than 100 positive tests per 100,000 people, as long as the infection rate is below 4%, or 50 per 100,000 by a higher rate.

The Netherlands, which would still be classed as red using this system, had been keen to see the risk assessment made more lenient.

Meeting

The agreement still has to be confirmed by European health ministers. They are due to meet in Luxemburg next week to finalise details for the digital coronavirus certificate. It would then have to be approved by parliament before it can be put into practice from July 1.

According to the NRC, countries will also still be able to deviate from the rules if they want to admit more tourists, or if a new outbreak threatens.

The European Commission says around 100 million of the 350 million adults in the EU have now been fully vaccinated against coronavirus. In the Netherlands, where there are 140 vaccination locations, at least 11.3 million doses have already been administered.

On Friday, people born in 1991 were called up to make a vaccination appointment.

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