By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – EU countries agreed on Tuesday to simplify COVID-19 travel measures within the bloc, allowing access based on vaccination, recovery, or negative test certificates without additional quarantine or testing requirements.
“The revised recommendation will take into consideration the people’s individual situation and not the epidemiological situation of their country,” Clement Beaune, France’s EU affairs state secretary, told reporters.
Beaune spoke at a news conference following a meeting of ministers in charge of European affairs who approved the non-binding travel measures.
Up to now EU countries could have introduced additional measures if someone arrived from a country with high infection potential according to the virus map of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).
Under the revised rules valid as of Feb. 1, travelers holding an EU COVID digital pass should not face additional restrictive measures, such as quarantine or testing when entering another EU country.
The EU COVID digital pass proves if a person has been vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered from the illness.
The new recommendation also points out that the certificate on primary vaccination series or the booster dose is valid for 270 days.
In an important change for those who lack the EU COVID digital pass, member states should also accept negative tests taken 24 hours after entering the country instead of asking for a test before travel.
The decision also requires the official virus map to consider the vaccination rate of each country besides testing results when countries are selected into dark red, red, orange, or green groups according to the epidemiological situation and infection potential.
The new rules are not legally binding for EU countries, as governments can always introduce stricter measures to stop an eventual health crisis, but they are highly recommended to coordinate with the European Commission and other governments.