EU Updates COVID-Safe Countries for Air Travel

EU Updates COVID-Safe Countries for Air Travel

Last month, the EU cleared a path to open up member-state borders to international travel by adopting guidelines recommending the easing of travel restrictions for fully COVID-vaccinated people and those travelling from countries considered to have the virus under control.

On 3 June, the Council of the EU added Japan to the list of safe countries in its fortnightly review. Japan itself has restrictions in place on travel from EU countries, apart from in exceptional circumstances, as part of its measures to counter the pandemic.

The decision has been taken upon a review of the EU Council’s list of the epidemiologically safe third-countries, according to which the Member States should add Japan to the list of safe third countries and soon permit Japanese travellers to enter the Schengen Area and the EU countries for non-essential purposes without being subject to any restrictions as testing and quarantine, including for tourism.

From June 3, the EU’s list of epidemiologically safe third countries consists of the following:

  • Australia
  • Israel
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Rwanda
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Thailand
  • China (including Hong Kong and Macao) subject to confirmation of reciprocity

UK Left Out Due to New Variant

The European Union has left the UK and the US off its list of countries from which unvaccinated travellers will be able to visit despite successful vaccination roll out.

According to the EU ambassadors, it is too early to add Britain to the epidemiologically safe third countries due to the Delta variant of the virus, first detected in India and recently spread in some parts of the UK.

Even though the infection rate in Britain is lower than in many EU countries, the high number of infections in some parts of England led the European governments to undertake such a decision.

However, the EU will again look at the situation in Britain on 14 June, after European countries’ authorities could change their decision depending on the COVID-19 infection rate.

The EU Member States are not obliged to follow Brussels’ recommendation strictly.

Some EU members like Portugal and Greece already allow British nationals to enter their territories for non-essential reasons, without waiting for the approval of Brussels for such a decision.

EU Digital COVID Certificate to Non-EU Travellers

The European Commission has announced that the EU Digital COVID Certificate may also be issued to non-European travellers, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The non-EU countries will be subject to the acceptance of the individual Member States of the validity of the passport, including proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test result, or proof of recovery from the COVID-19.

Right now, if you’re an American, not living in the EU, you could get the certificate if you ask the national authorities of a member state to give you that certificate based on some proof that you’ve been vaccinated or had a recent COVID test.

European Commission spokesperson

Nonetheless, he emphasised that such a decision rests with each individual Member State.

It was also revealed that the EU Commission is in talks with the US  on an equivalent certificate to ensure safe travel, which could be accepted as an equivalent document by the EU member states

What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you agree with the decision to leave out the UK and the US despite the low cases? Talk to us in the comment section below.

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