EU Reopening Borders To Vaccinated Travelers From “Safe” Countries

On Wednesday (18 May 2021), the European Union announced its decision to reopen its borders to visitors who have been fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine or those who are coming from a list of “safe” countries from a COVID-19 perspective. The list of “safe” countries is still be finalized but is expected to be announced by Friday. The new measures could be implemented as early as next week.

According to press reports, the accepted vaccines will include Pfizer-BioNTech,  Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Oxford/AstraZeneca and Sinopharm. Member states will still have the ability to implement their own regulations, however, meaning some could require a negative PCR test in advance of travel or a quarantine upon arrival for certain travelers.

As announced in April, the bloc will likely open with some sort of health certificate program. A temporary solution might include a “low-tech” or government-issued paper vaccine certificate-equivalent that the traveler would show upon arrival in Europe. A Digital Green Certificate has been the goal of the European Travel Commission for some time; the digital pass would show proof that a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus or has a negative test result. The European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of more than 60 public and private travel and tourism organizations, has previously come out in support of the digital health pass concept.

Currently, according to reports, the US is averaging 31,149 average daily new cases (nine per 100,00)—a 35 percent drop in the last 14 days. In addition, 37 percent of the entire population has been fully vaccinated. Media speculates that, given the numbers, it would be a safe bet that the US is among the counties OK’d for travel to the European Union regardless of vaccination status.

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