New rules put a 9-month limit on the validity of the Kovid vaccine for travel to Europe

European Union countries are scrambling to combat the fourth wave of the pandemic. (file)

The European Union has recommended a time frame of 9 months for the validity of COVID-19 vaccination for travel within and between the bloc and is also proposing to give priority to vaccinated travelers.

According to a document seen by Bloomberg, the European Commission is proposing that member states should continue to welcome all travelers with shots approved by the bloc. It called on countries to reopen from January 10 to all people who have used vaccines approved by the World Health Organization.

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders announced a new internal EU travel framework on Thursday, based on the vaccination or recovery status of individuals, compared to caseloads in the countries they are arriving from. . A separate announcement on outstation travel rules is scheduled for later Thursday.

The proposed updates introduce a new time frame for the validity of the COVID vaccination, making it clear that a booster will be required after a period of 9 months. But the EU said it was not ready to propose a validity period for certificates issued on the basis of booster shots.

Reyenders said the commission is also proposing to extend its rules on EU digital certificates beyond next summer.

EU governments are emphasizing that governments have employed contrasting approaches to help preserve the ability to travel to address differences in rules about how long vaccinations should last And how to handle booster shots. The commission provides recommendations that can be implemented by the member states.

Shares of European airlines edged higher on Wednesday, with the Bloomberg EMEA Airlines Index falling 8.2 per cent in November. Europe’s biggest low-cost carrier Ryanair Holdings plc was up 1.1 per cent, while British rivals EasyJet plc, Franco-Dutch flag carrier Air France-KLM and Deutsche Lufthansa AG also traded higher.

Against a backdrop of uneven vaccination rates, EU countries are scrambling to combat the fourth wave of the pandemic with varying restrictions. Germany is considering mandatory shots for some vulnerable groups, Italy has imposed limits for unvaccinated people, and Denmark is considering making face masks mandatory in public transport. Austria has banned leisure travel under a three-week lockdown.

As case numbers continue to rise across Europe, the EU’s executive branch plans to close its white list of countries from which all travelers are allowed, regardless of vaccination status, 1 from March. From that date, vaccinated and recovered passengers with an EU digital COVID certificate, or equivalent pass, will be able to enter the block.

The revised rules will also allow travel to the EU for children between the ages of 6 and 17 who have had a negative PCR test before departure, even if they have not been vaccinated. EU countries may require additional testing after arrival, quarantining or self-isolating. The proposals will now go to the member states for approval.

PCR test

As an added protection, proof of a negative PCR test will be required for all travelers who have been vaccinated with a WHO-approved vaccine that, according to the proposals, is not approved by Europe’s drug regulator, and For recovered passengers.

By 1 March the Commission calls “a streamlined approach”, EU travel will depend entirely on the status of the traveler, not the country of origin – member states should only allow vaccinated, recovered or essential travellers. The March deadline is intended to give non-EU countries time to further increase their vaccination rates.

Some of the existing thresholds will be changed to include countries from where non-essential travel is allowed.

More countries may qualify for a small increase in the range of 14-day cumulative COVID case notification rate, from 75 to 100 cases per 100,000 people. The changes will also include an increase in the weekly testing rate from 300 to 600 tests per 100,000 people.

sagging flights

The travel industry is closely watching the plans for the block.

After lifting capacity from June to October, European airlines have retreated. Based on data from flight tracker OAG, the number of seats on flights in Austria this week is down 39 percent from 2019 levels, a 3 percentage-point drop-off from early November. Similar declines have occurred in France and Germany.

The setback is likely to continue until Christmas, and could have an impact on plans for the 2022 summer vacation that usually take place at the end of the year, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said in an interview this week.

“It is inevitable that we will lose faith between now and Christmas and this will disrupt Christmas and it will also upset people between Christmas and New Years, when they usually start booking their summer vacations,” As of last week, “things were going well,” he said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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