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EU member states urged to ease travel curbs

Non-essential travel regardless of individual vaccination status is currently permitted from seven countries with a good epidemiological situation…reports Asian Lite News.

The European Commission has called on the member states of the European Union (EU) to grant entry to travellers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and those coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation.

“The Commission proposes to allow entry to the EU for non-essential reasons not only for all persons coming from countries with a good epidemiological situation, but also all people who have received the last recommended dose of an EU-authorised vaccine,” the EU’s executive arm said in a statement on Monday.

It added that a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization should also be accepted, reports Xinhua news agency.

Non-essential travel regardless of individual vaccination status is currently permitted from seven countries with a good epidemiological situation.

The Commission called for “continued vigilance” in view of the emergence of coronavirus variants of concern and proposed the use of a new “emergency brake mechanism,” which would limit the risk of such variants entering the EU.

The proposal will be discussed this week at the Council of the EU.

In March, the Commission proposed the adoption of a digital certificate that can prove that the holders are either Covid-19 negative, vaccinated or recovered from the disease.

The certificate system is being negotiated among EU institutions and could be finalized by summer to salvage the bloc’s tourism industry.

Earlier, World Health Organisation’s (WHO) regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said that more Europeans have been vaccinated against Covid-19 than have been confirmed to be infected.
 
“Based on numbers of confirmed cases, 5.5 per cent of the entire European population has now had Covid-19, while 7 per cent has completed a full vaccination series,” Kluge said in a press release.

To date, some 215 million vaccine doses have been administered in Europe, he said. Approximately 16 per cent of the WHO European Region’s population has received the first vaccine dose.

The WHO European Region has so far registered 51,506,373 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 1,076,173 deaths.

Medical professionals returning back on duty abroad wear protective gear and Personel Protective Equipment (PPE) suits as they arrive to board a flight at the Indira Gandhi International Airport

Despite the recent decline in new cases, hospitalizations and deaths, Kluge reiterated his dire warning to citizens in the region to be vigilant and remain “conscious of the fact that vaccines alone will not end the pandemic.”

“Without informing and engaging communities, they remain exposed to the virus. Without surveillance, we can’t identify new variants. And without contact tracing, governments may need to reimpose restrictive measures,” Kluge said.

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