European Commission proposes common criteria for Covid-19 travel restrictions at the European Union level

    European Commission adopted (04-Sep-2020) a proposal for an EU Council recommendation to ensure that any measures taken by member states that restrict free movement due to the coronavirus pandemic are coordinated and clearly communicated at the EU level. The proposal aims to ensure common criteria and thresholds for member countries when deciding whether to introduce travel restrictions and provide clear and timely information to the public about any restrictions. Details include:

    • The Commission is proposing that each state takes into account the following criteria when putting in place any restrictive measures:
      • The total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in a given area in a 14 day period;
      • The percentage of positive tests from all COVID-19 tests carried out in a given area during a seven day period;
      • The number of COVID-19 tests carried out per 100,000 people in a given area during a seven day period;
    • The Commission also proposes that the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control publishes a map of EU and EEA countries, updated weekly, with a common colour code to support states and travellers as follows:
      • Green for an area where the total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is less than 25 during a 14 day period and the percentage of positive tests from all COVID-19 tests is less than 3%;
      • Orange for an area where the total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is less than 50 during a 14 day period but the percentage of positive tests from all COVID-19 tests is 3% or more or the total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is between 25 and 150 but the percentage of positive tests from all COVID-19 tests is less than 3%;
      • Red for an area where the total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is more than 50 during a 14 day period and the percentage of positive tests from all COVID-19 tests is 3% or more or the total number of newly notified COVID-19 cases is more than 150 per 100,000 people during a 14 day period;
      • Grey if there is insufficient information available to assess criteria proposed or the number of COVID-19 tests carried out per 100,000 people is less than 250;
    • The Commission suggests that travellers from an area classified as ‘red’ or ‘grey’ undergo quarantine or take a COVID-19 test on arrival, with COVID-19 testing being the preferred option;
    • Travellers with an essential function or need should also not be required to undergo quarantine, such as workers exercising critical occupations, frontier and posted workers, students or journalists performing their duties.

    The proposal aims to be adopted “in the coming weeks” following discussions with the EU Council. [more – original PR]