(Bloomberg) -- The European Union is aiming to make travel within the bloc easier by adopting a new system of Covid-related travel rules based more on a person’s vaccination status than on where they are coming from.
Travelers with a valid digital Covid certificate -- showing vaccination, recovery from the disease or a recent test -- shouldn’t be subject to additional restrictions, following recommendations adopted by EU member states on Tuesday. Exceptions will still be allowed for travelers from particularly high-risk zones.
EU officials said the wide spread of omicron across the continent means that it’s time for countries to drop various travel rules they’ve adopted in recent weeks, which include additional testing requirements and quarantine periods.
“It is time to look at the discontinuation of the additional travel measures that a number of Member States have introduced in the past weeks, making travel more cumbersome and less predictable across the EU,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a joint statement. “We now call on all member states to implement the common rules swiftly to ensure coordination and clarity for our citizens and travelers.”
The EU coordinates travel policies across the bloc, but it’s up to individual governments to implement their own rules.
The bloc’s recommendations say that vaccinations should remain valid for travel purposes for nine months from the most recent shot, including a booster. A certificate of recovery will be valid for no more than six months from the date of the first positive test result. Travelers without a digital Covid certificate could be required to undergo a test prior to or no later than 24 hours after arrival. The new rules are scheduled to go into effect on Feb. 1.
More than 1.2 billion certificates have been issued in the EU.
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