European Union plans summer opening for vaccinated tourists

European Union plans summer opening for vaccinated tourists

"Nonessential travel regardless of individual vaccination status is now permitted from seven countries with a good epidemiological situation", it said, proposing to increase 14-day cumulative COVID-19 infection rate per 100,000 inhabitants from 25 to 100.

"If there are still public health challenges, we can keep our borders closed but I think we should opt in to be ready to take advantage of the potential upswing that may come very quickly in terms of the vaccine rollout".

The European Commission proposed easing restrictions on business and leisure travel for those who have been fully inoculated against Covid-19, adding to signs of a gradual return to normalcy as vaccinations gather pace.

The European Commission is recommending EU member states agree to restart the bloc's vital tourist industry in time for the European summer after a wipe-out season past year when travel plummeted worldwide.

The proposal also guides the Member States to remove the requirements for COVID-19 testing and quarantine for third-country citizens, if such obligations have been abolished for vaccinated European Union citizens and residents.

Travel to the European Union is now extremely limited except for a handful of countries with low infection rates.

But for now, it envisions that travelers who have official confirmation that they are fully vaccinated will be able to submit that proof to European countries in exchange for entering.

The Commission recommended that the threshold number of cases from which all travel is allowed be raised from current 25 infections per 100,000 people to 100. The decision is related to all non-essential travels that had been banned, EC said in official statement.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Ireland South MEP Billy Kelleher said Ireland should opt-in to the new rules now to ensure we are not left behind later in the summer.

A file photo of the the Louvre Pyramids in Paris, France.

As it stands, though, neither Russia's Sputnik V vaccine nor ones made by China would be included, excluding jabs that are used in dozens of lower-income countries. Member states could also individually decide to accept travelers immunized with vaccines listed by World Health Organization for emergency use.

"Until the Digital Green Certificate is operational, Member States should be able to accept certificates from non-EU countries based on national law, taking into account the ability to verify the authenticity, validity and integrity of the certificate and whether it contains all relevant data, " the Commission says. Travelers might still be subject to quarantines or other tests depending on the decision of their destination country, but they would not face the blanket ban that is now in place.

Meanwhile, the commission also emphasized the importance of maintaining vigilance against the emergence of COVID-19 variants.

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