FILE PHOTO: A couple are seen next to rows of empty hammocks during the coronavirus pandemic in Albufeira, Portugal July 20, 2020. REUTERS / Rafael MarchanteBRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union countries officially agreed on Wednesday to launch COVID travel passes as a step towards reopening to tourism this summer and will negotiate details with bloc lawmakers in May, two diplomatic sources said. The certificates would allow people vaccinated, recovered from COVID-19 or with negative test results make it easier to travel in the EU, where restrictions on have weighed heavily on the travel and tourism industry for more than a year. The 27 EU member states “have underlined their commitment to have the framework ready by summer 2021,” said a document approved by national envoys and seen by Reuters. Parliament, which must also accept the proposal for it to take effect, is due to adopt its own position later this month and final talks between lawmakers, national envoys and the bloc’s executive are expected to start in May. EU countries are working in parallel to ensure “that the necessary technological solutions are in place,” says the EU27 decision, so that new digital or paper certificates can be used once approved. The Member States’ agreement includes provisions against discrimination against those who cannot or do not wish to be vaccinated and allows a series of tests to prove their recovery, while Member States would be obliged to recognize the vaccines approved by the EU, some countries might also issue certificates covering Sputnik vaccines from Russia or Sinovac from China which are only allowed in their territory, other EU countries would decide whether or not to accept a certificate referring a vaccine not approved by EU regulators.Report by Gabriela Baczynska; edited by Philip Blenkinsop.
DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ireland added the United States, Canada, Belgium, France and Italy to a list of countries where arrivals will be subject to mandatory hotel quarantines, tightening some of Europe’s toughest travel restrictions to try to stop the spread of COVID-19. .
Ireland, the only one of the European Union’s 27 countries to introduce hotel quarantines, announced it would also require all arrivals to order a COVID-19 test for five days after landing in addition to those taken in the days before traveling.
It follows neighboring Britain in implementing regimes for people from countries deemed “high risk” or those who do not have a negative COVID-19 test. However, Britain has so far rejected calls to include several European countries.
Ireland’s tight lockdown since late December has turned one of the world’s highest incidence rates of COVID-19 to one of the lowest in Europe.
Elsewhere on the continent, Norway requires forced stay in quarantine hotels for at least a week for anyone arriving from abroad who does not own property, or can borrow the use of property, in the country.
Armenia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curacao, Kenya, Luxembourg, Maldives, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine will also be subject to quarantine in Ireland from April 15, the health ministry said in a statement.
Israel, Albania and Saint Lucia have been removed, which were added just over a week ago, meaning arrivals from more than 70 countries must be quarantined for up to 14 days in hotel rooms, or leave after 10 if they test negative for COVID-19.
The government initially dropped a recommendation by health officials last week to add a number of EU countries where a large number of Irish nationals live, citing potential legal challenges surrounding the bloc’s freedom of movement rules.
The hotel quarantine rules are scheduled to be enforced for only a few months, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said this week. Tourism groups criticized the government for not providing a solution on how they would give up the act.
“We can see a permanent exit from this pandemic but cannot allow the variant of concern to hold us back on the progress we have made,” Donnelly said in a statement on Friday.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin Editing by Chris Reese and Will Dunham
By Estelle Shirbon, Sarah Young LONDON (Reuters) – Airlines have slammed UK plans to restart international travel, saying expensive tests for travel to low-risk countries would mean only wealthy people could take vacations to the ‘foreign. displayed at a terminal at Heathrow Airport, amid the spread of the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19), London, Great Britain, January 16, 2021. REUTERS / Toby Melville Travel resumes from May 17, a plan that has failed to meet the industry’s hopes for clarity. Airlines and travel agencies are in desperate need of a great summer after a year of restrictions. Without a high level of unlimited travel, some might struggle to survive or need new funds.The government has proposed a system of traffic lights, with countries falling into red, amber or green categories based on COVID risk. 19. Green countries will require a PCR test which costs around 100 pounds ($ 135) for travelers once they return to the UK. “This does not represent a reopening of travel as promised by ministers,” said Airlines UK, an industry body which represents the United Kingdom. Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and others. “This is yet another setback for an industry on its knees.” EasyJet, the UK’s largest passenger carrier, has stressed the requirement for PCR testing, which it says costs more than some of its fares, and called on the government to reassess its plan. “It risks turning the clock around and making flying only for the rich,” said Johan Lundgren, general manager of easyJet. Last 20 years and are among the top spending tourists in Europe. In 2019, more than six in ten Britons took a holiday abroad. Transport Minister Grant Shapps said the government wanted to make travel testing cheaper and suggested that over time the PCR test could be changed to a more affordable lateral flow test. As a government, we are committed to working to reduce these costs, and also eventually, of course, potentially reviewing the type of test, ”he told the BBC. “I’m not telling people they shouldn’t book a vacation now,” the government said in October, Shapps said. “This is the first time that I can say this in many months.” The number of cases in Britain has dropped dramatically from a January spike under a strict lockdown that banned holidays, but a government priority is to avoid undermining its success under the fire system signage, restrictions such as hotel quarantine, home quarantine, and mandatory COVID testing will apply differently depending on the passenger’s country of origin category. Identifying countries most at risk of going from green to orange, although the government has said it would not hesitate to change country categories if data shows the risk has increased. A digital travel certification system would also be part of the plan, but the proposals went into little detail beyond saying Britain wanted to play a leading role in setting standards. ($ 1 = 0.7310 pounds) Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Sarah Young; Additional reporting by Michael Holden edited by Diane Craft, Robert Birsel and Nick Macfie.
LONDON (Reuters) -The UK will confirm in early May whether to allow international travel to resume from May 17 and which countries will fall into the red, yellow or green category in the traffic light system based on the risk of COVID-19.
The airline, which desperately needs the summer after a year of restrictions, criticized a proposal from the government’s Global Travel Taskforce, which includes a COVID test, saying the cost of 100-pound PCR testing for those arriving from low-risk green countries would attract many travelers.
Providing new details on how they hope to enable people to travel this summer, the task force also said work is being done to develop a certification system, sometimes called a “vaccine passport”, for inbound and outbound travel.
Britain is gradually coming out of a strict winter lockdown sparked by a spike in COVID-19 infections and deaths. Meanwhile, international travel is prohibited except in certain circumstances determined by the government.
But the government’s proposal to restart travel fell short of the airline industry’s expectations.
“This does not represent the reopening of travel as promised by the ministers,” said Airlines UK, the industry body that represents British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair, Virgin Atlantic and others.
EasyJet, the UK’s largest airline by passenger numbers, said PCR test requirements for low-risk countries were a blow to travelers and called on the government to reassess its plans.
“It runs the risk of turning back time and making flying only for the rich,” said easyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren.
The number of cases in the UK has fallen dramatically since the peak of January but the government’s priority is to avoid undermining the success of the vaccination program by importing vaccine-resistant variants from abroad.
“The framework announced today will help enable us to reopen travel safely and sustainably, ensure we protect our hard-earned achievements in vaccine launches and offer peace of mind for passengers and the industry when we start traveling overseas once. again, ”said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
The government says it is working with the travel industry and with private COVID-19 test providers to cut travel costs.
“This could include a cheaper test that is used when tourists return home, as well as whether the government will be able to provide a pre-departure test,” said the travel task force.
Under the traffic light system, restrictions such as hotel quarantine, home quarantine and mandatory COVID testing will apply differently depending on the passenger’s country of origin category.
Factors in the assessment category will include the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated, infection rates, prevalence of variants of concern and country access to reliable genome sequencing.
There will be a “green watchlist” identifying the countries most at risk of switching from green to yellow, although the government says it will not hesitate to change a country category if the data shows the risk increases.
The Task Force indicated that a digital travel certification system would be part of the plan but provided few details other than saying that the UK wants to play a leading role in developing standards in this area.
Reporting by Estelle Shirbon and Sarah Young; editing by Diane Craft, Robert Birsel
LONDON (Reuters) – Any COVID status certification scheme Britain adopts must be enforceable and must not discriminate against unvaccinated people, said the minister in charge of vaccine launches on Tuesday.
“There will not be a situation where the government will let that happen,” said Nadhim Zahawi on BBC television in response to a question about whether the certification scheme would be discriminatory.
“Everyone can get a test. There is no discrimination. “Not everyone can get a vaccine … that’s why we have to look at all the technologies to make sure they work together,” he said.
Reporting by Michael Holden and Estelle Shirbon; edited by Alistair Smout