EU agrees common rules for coronavirus travel restrictions
EU countries on Tuesday agreed common criteria to coordinate coronavirus travel restrictions, in an effort to end the confusing patchwork of national rules that has developed during the pandemic.
Ministers from the 27 countries agreed the new guidelines at a meeting in Luxembourg, putting in place a common mapping system to define risk areas in the EU -- but the new recommendations are not binding on member states.
Under the plan, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish a weekly map of the EU using a traffic light colour system to indicate the level of risk in each area.
Levels will be determined by a variety of epidemiological factors including new virus cases per 100,000 population in the preceding 14 days, and the level of positive tests. A fourth colour, grey, will be allocated to areas with not enough data.
Travellers coming from a red, orange or grey zone could be required to quarantine or take a test for Covid-19, while those coming from a green zone would not face any measures. EU countries would not be able to refuse entry to people coming from other member states -- which Hungary is currently doing, with exceptions for Czechs, Poles and Slovaks.
The plans also include exceptions for people doing "essential" jobs as well as a common contact tracing form for travellers.
France welcomed the decision, but Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, who abstained in the vote, said the text of the agreement was not yet at a finished state.
Europe, which has seen more than 6.5 million cases of Covid-19 and 240,000 deaths, according to AFP figures, is battling to contain a second wave of the pandemic.