(CNN) – After nearly a year of closing the border, the EU could open a service in June to vaccinate tourists from countries with low rates of COVID in the summer, under plans revealed on Monday.
Relaxing unnecessary travel restrictions, which will be welcomed by countries seeking to revive the struggling tourism industry, will help. “Emergency brake” if infection rates rise again
Reflecting on the success of the vaccination program, the EU is also looking to relax eligibility rules for adding to the list of safe travel by countries where travelers do not need to be vaccinated or have to enter quarantine zones.
Officials hope the plan will be implemented by the end of June, one year since the EU closed its external borders for most tourists. But borders may open faster depending on how soon European countries sign the deals.
The move comes as some members of the 27-nation group are planning to move forward with an opening. Hungry Greece last month said most foreign tourists were vaccinated or tested for COVID since mid-May.
Proposals published by the European Commission suggest that arrivals must be vaccinated 14 days prior to arrival with vaccines from an approved list including BioNTech / Pfizer, Oxford University / AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna
“Member countries can also extend this scope to vaccinated countries after completing the WHO’s emergency entry procedures,” the EC statement added.
At the heart of the EU plan is the “Digital Green Certificate”, which will provide proof of vaccination or immunity and allow travel across borders within and outside the EU.
International tourists can obtain this by submitting evidence to their original destination country that they have been vaccinated.
Prior to the release, Member States should take action to verify the authenticity of any immunization evidence presented by visitors.
Monday’s proposal also suggests changing the way the EU decides which country is on the travel safe list. Only travelers from seven countries – Australia, New Zealand and Rwanda – are currently allowed to enter certain EU countries on vacation without proof of vaccination or in quarantine.
The proposal is to increase the 14-day cumulative Covid-19 alert rate threshold from 25 to 100. [per 100,000 inhabitants]”This is still below the current EU average of 420.”
In the latest data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the United States has an alert rate of 258, so it won’t be added to the list of safe travels. But the UK, which has a rate of 47, will be considered under the new rules.
However, the proposal of the Commission includes the so-called. “Emergency brakes” “When the epidemiological situation in countries outside the EU deteriorates rapidly, and especially if different concerns or interests are detected, member states can urgently and Temporarily suspend all inbound travel of non-EU citizens residing in the said country. “
The plan will be discussed by European diplomats on May 5 and upon signing off the list of safe countries will be reviewed every two weeks. Border decisions can be made on a country-specific basis, so each Member State decides whether to implement these proposals or not.