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EU countries recommend tightening travel restrictions

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(Photo by Ina FASSBENDER / AFP)

The 27 EU countries recommended tightening travel restrictions on Friday, including discourage all non-essential trips from and to areas with high COVID-19 infection rates.

The non-binding recommendations follow a proposal by the European Commission and set out the union’s general approach to travel within the bloc.

So far, the bloc is theoretically divided into green, yellow, and red zones according to infection rates (in addition to grey for those where insufficient data is available).

However, as almost all countries fall under the highest category, almost the entire map is red.

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To introduce some more nuance, the countries’ ambassadors to the EU on Friday agreed on the adoption of “dark red” zone, where the infection rate over two weeks is higher than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

For travellers on non-essential trips from such an area, the countries recommend requiring a test prior to departure as well as quarantine at their location of destination.

The same applies to areas where new variants of the virus are highly prevalent.

There should be exceptions for essential workers from those areas in some circumstances, however, and citizens returning to their country of residence.

The latter should be permitted to take a test on arrival rather than before the departure, for example.

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