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COVID-19

EU urges governments to scrap travel restrictions for couples

The EU Commission has called on governments to allow couples separated by coronavirus travel restrictions to reunite, following five months of separation for many in cross-border relationships.

EU urges governments to scrap travel restrictions for couples
Many cross-border couples have been kept apart by the pandemic for nearly half a year. File photo: Văn Thắng/Pexels

“During the last meeting, yesterday, we raised an issue directly affecting many people, namely excluding unmarried partners of European citizens and residents from the travel restriction into the EU,” said a spokesperson for the commission, Adalbert Jahnz, at a press conference.  

“We will continue to call on all member states to allow the entry of people in duly attested relationships with European citizens and residents without delay.”

Currently, it's up to each country to decide on exemptions to the EU entry ban, and the spokesperson said the commission had repeatedly encouraged member states to exempt unmarried partners of citizens and residents.

But only seven EU/EEA countries (Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland), have exempted unmarried partners from the ban, with most only allowing spouses to enter the country from outside the EU.

In Sweden, the rules are complex, with the government saying unmarried partners of Swedish citizens and residents can enter the country, but only if they can prove they've met in person and that they intend to marry or enter a common-law relationship with their partner.

Across the world, long-distance couples have campaigned under the slogans #LoveIsNotTourism and #LoveIsEssential, calling on governments to make allowances for those in serious relationships.

Member comments

  1. Let’s hope legislators and officials move quickly to take positive actions towards remediating this matter.

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COVID-19

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

Denmark has received its first supply of Paxlovid, an antiviral treatment for Covid-19.

Covid-19 medicine Paxlovid now available in Denmark

A first stock of Paxlovid, a tablet which can be described by doctors to combat Covid-19 symptoms, has been delivered to Denmark, health authorities confirmed in a statement.

“The first delivery has arrived today and the rest will be delivered continuously during the coming period,” the Danish Health Authority said.

Denmark has purchased 40,000 treatment courses of the medicine.

Doctors decide when to prescribe the medicine, which is suitable for adults infected with Covid-19 who are at risk of serious illness with Covid-19. It is taken over a course of five days when symptoms are still mild.

“Treatment with Paxlovid is for the patients who are at greatest risk of serious illness with Covid-19 and the treatment will be an important part of the future management of Covid-19,” the Health Authority said in the statement.

The arrival of a medicine for Covid-19 does not signal the end of vaccination which remains “the most effective measure to prevent serious illness and death,” it said.

Denmark has purchased the Paxlovid supply through a deal with pharmaceutical company Pfizer.

The infectious disease control agency State Serum Institute (SSI) has 2.2 million Covid-19 vaccines which have been in storage for so long that they are no longer usable, news wire Ritzau earlier reported.

The vaccines were purchased when Denmark was acquiring as many as possible during the pandemic but because they are not effective against newer variants of the coronavirus, they can no longer be used.

Another 3.6 million doses in storage at SSI can only be used for the initial two doses for as-yet unvaccinated people – who are now limited in number given Denmark’s high vaccine uptake. This means they are unusable in the current booster programme.

The cost of the 5.8 million vaccines is estimated at between 116 and 783 million kroner.

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