TORONTO — The European Union is one step closer to reopening to fully vaccinated travellers, after EU ambassadors signalled their agreement today on measures to allow fully vaccinated visitors into the EU, quarantine-free.
With today’s turn of events it looks as though fully vaccinated travellers from other non-EU countries, who can prove their full vaccination with shots approved by the EU’s drug regulator, will also get the go-ahead to visit. The last dose must have been received at least 14 days before arrival. Coronavirus vaccines authorized by the European Medicines Agency include Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.
Although the EU countries still need to formally approve the measures, this latest step is positive news for the EU and for key source markets including Canada.
The EU is also expected to release its new list of low-risk countries whose residents can also travel to the EU, regardless of their vaccination status. That updated list will likely be released later this week. Up to now, that list included only seven nations.
The European Council “will now recommend that member states ease some of the current restrictions” for those who have been vaccinated, said EU Commission spokesman Christian Wigand.
“The council should also soon expand the list of non-EU countries with a good epidemiological situation from where travel is permitted,” said Wigand.
Wigand said ambassadors also agreed on an “emergency brake” mechanism designed to stop dangerous virus variants from entering the 27-nation bloc through quickly enacted travel limits if the infection situation deteriorates in a non-EU country.
Greece has already lifted quarantine restrictions for the U.S., Britain, Israel, and other non-EU countries. And earlier this month Italy’s prime minister Mario Draghi said Italy is getting ready to reopen to international tourism this summer too.
The EU’s proposed Digital Green Certificate, meanwhile, is making its way through official channels. The certificate will provide proof of the bearer’s COVID-19 vaccination, and, if applicable, indication of immunity if the person has already had COVID-19, or has recently tested negative for the virus. Negotiations between governments and EU lawmakers to introduce the COVID-19 certificates aimed at facilitating travel across the region this summer continue. A deal is required by end of the month to ensure the system will be up and running by the end of June.
The Canadian government says Canada is working in collaboration with other G7 countries to make sure that Canadians have any documentation necessary for international travel post-pandemic.
With file from The Associated Press
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