The European Commission (EC) on Monday urged the countries of the European Union (EU) to recommend do not travel to or from areas of high risk of expansion of the pandemic of coronavirus, given the arrival of the most contagious variants in several Member States.
Brussels calls on European governments “consistency” when applying these measures, so that it is recommended to avoid travel between countries but also within the country itself, said the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, at a press conference.
In addition, as regards arrivals of travelers from outside the EU, the Commission asks countries to require a negative PCR test carried out before displacement and, for countries where it has been detected a more worrisome variant of the virus, measures such as self-isolation, quarantine and case tracking up to 14 days after arrival.
“The Commission proposes that all non-essential travel be strongly discouraged until the epidemiological situation has improved considerably. In doing so, member states must ensure consistency with the measures they apply to travel within their own territory, “the EC said in a statement.
Brussels points out that this recommendation is particularly aimed at European regions with a cumulative incidence of more than 500 – the case of a large part of Spain, except Asturias, the Basque Country, Navarra and Cantabria-, to which they propose to assign a dark red color on the map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to monitor the expansion of cases.
The EC points out that people arriving from these areas should be required to present a negative test before the trip and the obligation to keep quarantine in the country of destination.
People who must cross the border frequently for work or for family reasons should be exempted from the quarantine requirement and the requirement of PCR tests it must have a “proportionate” frequency.
In any case, Reynders pointed out that Brussels supports that travel is not completely prohibited and instead measures such as quarantines or the presentation of a negative test are used, since the EU “cannot afford to disrupt essential travel, supply chains and vaccine distribution.”
Brussels continues to influence that Member States “adopt, maintain or strengthen” the measures non-pharmaceuticals, such as confinements or the temporary closure of certain establishments, to increase surveillance and sequencing of coronavirus cases, so that information on new variants can be collected.
Last Thursday, the ECDC raised the risk of contagion of the new strains from “high” to “very high”.
On the other hand, the Commission also proposed to the Member States that, with regard to travel from outside the Union to Community territory and in the event that the displacement is “essential”, Non-European nationals are required to have a negative PCR test before traveling, carried out maximum 72 hours before departure.
The Community Executive also proposes that countries may also require “additional tests as necessary for a period of up to 14 days, provided that the Member State imposes the same requirements on its own nationals. when traveling from the same non-EU country “.