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COVID-19

‘Green pass’: European Commission to propose EU-wide vaccine passports for summer

Europeans may be allowed to travel more freely this summer with a new digital vaccination passport in a plan set to be laid out by the European Commission.

'Green pass': European Commission to propose EU-wide vaccine passports for summer
An Israeli woman shows her "green pass" (proof of being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus) before entering the Green Pass concert for vaccinated seniors. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced the plan for a “digital green pass” in a speech to German lawmakers on Monday and then added some details on Twitter.

The “digital green pass”  would provide proof that a person has received the vaccination as well as test results for anyone who has not yet been vaccinated. It would also include information on recovery for anyone who has previously contracted Covid-19.

“The aim is to gradually enable them to move safely in the European Union or abroad – for work or tourism,” von der Leyen tweeted.

 

The Commission will present the legislative proposal this month. Von der Leyen said, it will “respect data protection, security and privacy.”

The news could provide a significant boost to Europe’s tourism industries ahead of the summer. 

Leaders of the EU27 met last week to discuss a joined-up approach but no united plan was announced.

Spain and other southern countries have repeatedly requested that the Commission introduce a certificate. Greece had already announced it would create its own vaccine passport system, agreeing a digital “Green Pass” with Israel and entering talks with the UK.

An independently reviewed, real-world study of the Pfizer/ BioNTech vaccine in Israel found it had cut transmission in symptomatic cases by 94%, according to data published in the well-regarded New England Journal of Medicine.

However, last week, Angela Merkel told German newspaper Allgemeine Zeitung: “First, it must actually be clearly resolved that vaccinated people are no longer infectious.”

“As long as the number of those who have been vaccinated is still so much smaller than the number who are waiting for vaccination, the state should not treat the two groups differently.”

President Macron also raised concerns about the fairness of vaccine passports on young people at the EU27 virtual meeting. 

In the UK, Downing Street confirmed that UK officials will speak to their EU counterparts after Brussels unveiled plans for the passport, Politics Home reported.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “You can expect [the Department for Transport] will work [with], and do speak to countries across the world in terms of how they may look to introduce passports.”

 

Member comments

  1. Does anyone know when Americans will be able to visit, we have a 2nd home, if they have sometype of vaccine passport? Thanks!

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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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