“Vaccination papers, please.”
Soon enough, international travel will be a privilege only for the vaxxed.
The EU would reopen to holidaymakers from countries with low Covid infection rates such as the UK, and to anyone who has been fully vaccinated, by the start of June under a European Commission plan.
With the rate of vaccination rising “dramatically” in EU member states, commission officials said it was time to relax rules on non-essential travel while legislating to provide for powers to pull an “emergency brake” if necessary.
EU borders would be reopened at the latest by the start of June, officials said, with agreement due to be sought from member states during meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The existing requirement to undergo Covid testing before or after arrival or to quarantine could still be enforced by member states but EU officials added that “hopefully with the situation improving and the vaccination rate immensely picking up we will also see a gradual phasing out of these additional conditions”.
Even those who have not been fully vaccinated will be allowed into the EU if they are coming from a country with a “good epidemiological situation”.
As it stands, only seven countries worldwide are on a green list allowing for non-essential travel. The commission is proposing to increase the threshold of 14-day cumulative Covid-19 case notification rate from 25 to 100. The UK’s rate is about 23.2 per 100,000 people.
The commission is proposing, however, an emergency brake. When the epidemiological situation of a non-EU country worsens quickly and in particular if a variant of concern or interest is detected, a member state will be able to “urgently and temporarily suspend all inbound travel by non-EU citizens resident in such a country”.
The only exceptions would be healthcare professionals, transport personnel, diplomats, transit passengers, those travelling for imperative family reasons, seafarers, and people in need of international protection or for other humanitarian reasons. They would instead be subject to strict testing and quarantine arrangements even if they had been vaccinated.
The part about allowing people who haven’t been fully vaccinated from countries “with a good epidemiological situation” is just a word game – the countries they’ll deem to have a good epidemiological situation are those with high vaccination rates.
What they’re saying is that people who are not fully vaccinated are allowed as long as they come from a country with lots of fully vaccinated people.
This is just another way to put pressure on the non-vaxxed – “your kook theories are keeping us from being able to travel internationally!”