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COVID-19

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered

The coronavirus is spreading around Europe and the world, but what do we actually know about the virus so far and what are the best steps to take to avoid catching it? Watch The Local's free video by Alex Dunham.

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered
 
Hello,
 
The Local's mission is to give our readers the information they need to navigate their lives in new countries. We rely on paying members to do that, but we have chosen not to put any of our articles about the coronavirus behind our hard paywall, to help the public and counter the spread of misinformation. We believe it is the right thing to do.
 
This means that new or occasional readers can read articles for free. We are also dropping the paywall completely on any articles containing advice or need-to-know information. That includes this article as well as lots of other content.
 
We have had a few questions from readers this week if there is a way you can donate to The Local to support our work.
 
The best way is simply to sign up for membership via the blue “Become a Member” button at the top of the page. If you wish you can cancel at a later date. It's easy to do. 
 
We hope our paying members understand why we have chosen to make these articles about the coronavirus free for everyone, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
 
 
All the best,
Emma
Deputy Managing Editor, The Local 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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