EUROPE SIMPLIFIES TRAVEL & Adopts Traffic Light System For Travel Restriction

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EU Adopts Traffic Light System For Travel Restrictions

To ease travellers confusion on who can enter an EU member state with or without quarantine, the EU has approved a uniform traffic lights system for travel within the bloc.

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EUROPE SIMPLIFIES TRAVEL: EU Adopts Traffic Light System For Travel Restriction

0:00 - EU adopts traffic light system for travel restrictions

0:13 - EU agrees to a uniform traffic light system for travel

It aims to end a confusing patchwork of restrictions across Europe and to bring back free movement of people, one of the key principles of the EU, within the 27-nation bloc when conditions allow

Under the agreement, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will publish a weekly map of the regional situation in EU countries, with a colour code based on the risk level: Green, orange, and red.

The traffic light colour of a given region will depend on the number of
new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days and the rate of positive tests.

A fourth colour, grey, is provided for areas where there are insufficient data or where the number of tests carried out per 100,000 inhabitants is considered too low.

According to the recommendation, travellers coming from an orange, red or grey zone may be required to undergo quarantine and/or screening on arrival.

Those coming from a green zone are not subject to any measures.

Member states should not refuse entry to their territory to travellers coming from another EU country - which Hungary is currently doing while making some exceptions for Czech, Polish and Slovak citizens.

It added that it wanted member states to now provide the necessary up-to-date data so the traffic light system can be updated monthly and the
information is available on the Re-Open EU website.

01:37 - EU Traffic Light System A vital step forward for the Travel & Tourism industry

France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, welcomed the agreement as an “essential step forward in an area that has too often been left to isolated and uncooperative national initiatives”.

However, not all countries were in agreement

Jean Asselborn, the minister from Luxembourg, which abstained, said the agreement needed to be “completed and deepened” by adding other criteria, including the number of tests, results, mortality rate, hospitalisations, and the number of intensive care beds.

He claimed his country was being “punished” for its policy of large-scale testing.

Austria's EU minister, Karoline Edtstadler, criticized the new criteria as inaccurate, noting that "most regions in Europe are red."

"We have to be able to assess the risk better and also maintain freedom of movement and goods at the same time," Austria's EU minister, Karoline Edtstadler

Austria is particularly worried that winter tourism in the Alps will suffer if new risk zones are constantly being declared.

02:25 - How the EU traffic light system operates for Travel

The colour-coded system will work as follows:

Red: High risk, more than 50 cases per 100,000 people with 4% test positivity, or more than 150 cases per 100,000 with less than 4% test positivity

Orange: Medium risk, more than 25 cases per 100,000 people with 4% test positivity, or between 25 and 150 cases per 100,000 with less than 4% test positivity

Green: Low risk, less than 25 cases per 100,000 people with less than 4% test positivity

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control will provide weekly updates to assign the colours.

The EU's coronavirus traffic light system is, in the end, only a recommendation.

So, member states will be able to introduce quarantine and tests for travellers if they like, but they will not be compelled to. Nor will the EU guidelines override national regulations.

How does border restrictions affect your plans to travel?
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