The ambassadors of the 27 members of the European Union have reached an agreement to reopen the block to tourists from countries where the pandemic is under control. An increase in the number of countries included in the “white list” (which allows non-essential travel) and “certain exemptions for those vaccinated” is expected, according to Ana Ascenção e Silva, spokesperson for the European Council.
The agreed points were not disclosed as they have yet to be approved by the Council. According to today’s meeting, non-essential travel would be allowed to those coming from places with a contagion rate of up to 75 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in 14 days – a tighter limit than the 100 cases proposed. by the European Commission.
One of the main interests of European tourist countries is to welcome Americans and British, who account for a large part of the inflow of foreign currency into the northern hemisphere. If the 75/100 thousand is approved, it could put the UK on the ‘white list’ – which closed the last 14 days with 44/100 thousand, according to the European Center for Disease Control – but not the States -United. – Who recorded 176/100 thousand in the fortnight. In Brazil, the incidence rate is 395 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in two weeks.
Getting a country into the white list, however, does not happen automatically – the governments of the 27 members review the list every fortnight. Currently, the limit for new cases is 25 / 100,000, a category in which there are more than 50 countries, but only seven have open doors in the European Union: Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Korea. South, Rwanda, China – when there is reciprocity from the Chinese government – and Thailand – whose current rate (37/100 thousand) is above the minimum.
European countries also defend a security lock, which blocks the entry of travelers from places where more contagious variants predominate, such as P.1 (identified in Brazil), B.1.1.7 (registered in England) and B. 1.617.2 (identified in India and growing in England).
The ambassadors recommended that fully vaccinated tourists – “especially with vaccines approved by the European regulatory agency” – be allowed to enter the block. Until Wednesday, the agency has authorized the use of vaccines from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Janssen, and is evaluating Coronavac (China) and Sputnik V (Russia).
Regardless of what is agreed between members, national governments will still have the autonomy to impose additional restrictions, such as negative results on coronavirus tests and quarantines, or to accept vaccines authorized by the WHO. – which, in addition to the four approved by the EU, recommended the use of the one made by Chinese Sinopharm, and also evaluates Coronavac and Sputnik V.
EU members are also negotiating the creation of a digital certificate, which would unify information on vaccination, Covid-19 recovery and coronavirus tests, to facilitate transit within the Schengen zone (free border zone which brings together 30 European countries). However, there is still no agreement on this point.
As the European Commission tries to standardize entry rules for foreigners, countries heavily dependent on tourism, such as Portugal, Greece and Italy, have unilaterally lifted restrictions, such as the quarantine requirement for travelers from the UK and other European countries. with low infection rates. Spain must do the same.