Following a meeting in Luxembourg on Tuesday, envoys for the 27 European Union member states have decided upon a series of travel guidelines as a second wave of Covid crashes across the continent.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted our daily lives in many ways. Travel restrictions have made it difficult for some of our citizens to get to work, to university or to visit their loved ones,” stated German minister for Europe Michael Roth. “It is our common duty to ensure coordination on any measures which affect free movement and to give our citizens all the information they need when deciding on their travel.”
Based on coronavirus data provided by EU states, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish a weekly color-coded map indicating coronavirus outbreaks. The colored zones—green, orange and red—represent the number of new cases per 100,000 in the past 14 days, as well as the testing and positivity rates over the past seven days.
However, as most EU countries already have a 14-day notification higher than 25 and a test positivity rate above 4% (France is between 11% to 11.5%), they will immediately be classified as red or orange and individual EU governments will have to set their own quarantine measures or mandatory testing upon arrival for travelers coming from orange or red zones.
Be that as it may, the commission was very clear: “For the millions of citizens with an essential reason to travel, be it for important family reasons, for their livelihoods, or to ensure that we receive the goods we need, today’s agreement will also be a welcome improvement to a currently precarious situation. No quarantine measures should be applied in these cases.”
In a statement, the commission also said, “Our right to move freely across the EU has been severely impacted by the pandemic. On top of this, citizens have been faced with so many different rules and procedures, unclear information about areas of high and low risk, and a lack of clarity about what to do when travelling. A month ago, the Commission put forward a proposal on how to address these challenges and support the millions of EU citizens who travel in the EU every day. Today, Member States have reached an agreement on how to put this into practice.”