Saturday, May 15, 2021

European Commission Calls on Member States to Limit Essential Travel From India

The European Commission has proposed to the European Union Member States to apply an “emergency brake” on unnecessary travel and further restrict essential travel from India in an effort to limit the spread of the B.1.617.2 variant, first detected in this country.

The Commission believes that such a move would ensure a fully coordinated response to the new strain of COVID-19 that recently has profoundly affected India.

“It is important to limit to the strict minimum the categories of travellers that can travel from India for essential reasons and to subject those who may still travel from India to strict testing and quarantine arrangements,” the European Commission has stressed in its statement, reports.

Such a step follows a previous proposal of the World Health Organization, which suggested changing the classification of India’s new COVID-19 strain from “variant of interest” to “variant of concern.”

However,  EC’s authorities have proposed to exempt from this decision all persons travelling for imperative family reasons or those seeking international protection or similar humanitarian reasons.

“EU citizens and long-term residents, as well as their family members, should still be able to travel to Europe,” the statement reads, among others.

For those persons, the European Commission has urged the Member States to impose additional preventive measures, such as mandatory testing and quarantine rules, stressing that these health-related measures should be applied regardless of whether the travellers have taken the vaccine against the Coronavirus disease.

The “emergency brake” mechanism has been introduced to halt the spread of the Coronavirus and its new strains. It permits the EU Member States to temporarily restrict the entry for travellers from a non-EU country in which the epidemiological situation has worsened.

“The Council’s recent recommendation covers all Member States (except Ireland) and the four non-EU states that have joined the Schengen area: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.” the statement clarifies.

India is the second country worldwide with the highest rate of COVID-19 infection. More than 24,372,900 COVID-19 persons have tested positive since the beginning of the pandemic, and over 266,220 have died.

The figures published by Worldometers reveal that a total of 20,432,898 persons have fully recovered from the virus in India, while there are 3,673,780 active cases.

Several European countries, such as Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Spain, Slovenia, Italy, and Germany, have temporarily banned entry or tightened their restrictions for arrivals from India to prevent an upsurge in the number of COVID-19 infections.

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