Monday, January 25, 2021

European Commission Proposes New Travel Regulations Within Bloc, Avoids Blanket Ban - UrduPoint

European Commission Proposes New Travel Regulations Within Bloc

The European Commission on Monday proposed introducing stricter regulations for travel to and from the bloc amid the rapid spread of mutated coronavirus strains but refrained from imposing a sweeping travel ban that could affect the free flow of goods and people.

"In light of new coronavirus variants and high numbers of new infections across many Member States, it is necessary to strongly discourage non-essential travel, while avoiding border closures or blanket travel bans and ensuring that the functioning of the Single Market and supply chains remain uninterrupted. Therefore further targeted action to ensure a coordinated approach on measures restricting free movement within the EU is necessary," the commission said in a press release.

The first proposal is to add a new color code on the EU map for designating areas in which "the virus is circulating at very high levels." These will be colored in dark red and add up to green, orange, red and gray zones.

Travelers from the dark red areas will have to undergo a COVID-19 test prior to travel and quarantine upon arrival in line with the destination's regulations.

EU citizens residing in border areas will get certain exemptions from the rule to facilitate their travel to and from work or travel for essential family purposes.

Citizens traveling to their permanent residence will also be exempt from taking a test in advance and can get tested upon arrival, according to the press release.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described the new regulations on Twitter as "difficult but necessary."

"In parallel, we propose stronger requirements for international travellers into the EU: testing, quarantines and a future common European Passenger Locator Form," von der Leyen tweeted.

Last week, as the spread of strains with higher infectiousness from the United Kingdom, South Africa and other countries began dominating the daily increase in cases in EU member states, some of them warned they would shut down the borders unilaterally to keep the infection away.

Delays in supplies of EU-contracted coronavirus vaccines only further aggravated the fears of a new surge in cases. Von der Leyen has personally addressed the issue of delayed supplies with Pfizer.

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