The EU is considering the idea of eliminating the list of epidemiologically safe third countries, which is also known as the “white list”, which European countries have been guided by for the past few years in the issue of allowing tourists to their territory. The corresponding decision regarding the freedom of movement of travelers within the EU countries was sent by the European Tourist Council (ETC), indicated on the website of the agency.
Commenting on this issue, ETC noted that the European bloc and member states that still retain COVID-19 travel restrictions should lift all travel restrictions as soon as the situation permits. Thus calling on the EU to end the list of epidemiologically safe third countries.
“Whitelisting should be abandoned, moving completely to a person-centered approach. The updated recommendations should also include the lifting of all intra-EU and EU travel restrictions as soon as the epidemiological situation allows, especially given the upcoming season, which is critical for the recovery of the sector,” ETC explained.
The “white list” of non-EU/EEA countries came into being during the coronavirus pandemic. The list included countries with low infection rates and high vaccination rates. In Europe, such third countries were called safe, therefore, tourists were allowed to enter European regions from these regions. The list first came into effect in the summer of 2020 in an attempt by EU countries to revive travel and tourism in Europe. The list was periodically reviewed and adjusted depending on the situation in every third country, taking into account the total number of infections, vaccination and recovery rates.
While most EU countries no longer use this list as they have removed all entry restrictions, some others still do. The latter usually allow full, unrestricted entry for tourists from countries included in this list, without requiring proof of vaccination, recovery from COVID-19, or even test results.
The list currently includes the following countries:< /p>
- China (subject to reciprocity)
- New Zealand
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
The ETC also urged member states to refrain from using the EU COVID digital certificate as a reason to impose additional travel restrictions, highlighting that even the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that travel restrictions no longer have the desired effect to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. .
Furthermore, the Board also insisted that the list of vaccines accepted for EUDCC grants should be expanded to include all those approved by the WHO, not just those approved by the EMA. The Russian Sputnik V has not received any regulatory approval.
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