Monday, June 7, 2021

Belgium to Start Issuing EU COVID-19 Passports for Travel –  Abolishes Quarantine for Green & Orange Countries

Starting on July 1, Belgians can begin using the COVID-19 passport to travel for summer holidays, the government has announced. Although travelling outside the European Union countries is discouraged, the Consultative Committee introduced the new travel rules, effective from June 9, in order for people to be able to travel safely for their summer holidays, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The new regulation will also allow people returning from the green and orange list of countries to enter Belgium without undergoing quarantine. On the other hand, travellers from the red zone must possess a COVID-19 passport in order to visit the country.

The document allows those vaccinated against COVID-19, recovered ones or those who have recently tested negative for COVID-19 to travel without the need to undergo quarantine across Europe. Germany, Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Denmark, Czechia, and Poland are the first countries to implement the initiative.

Recently, Iceland and Switzerland have joined this list by starting to issue the document for their citizens. Iceland started the trial project to introduce the COVID-19 passport, and the first passengers carrying such documents arrived in the country last week.

On the other hand, Switzerland has started issuing the document today, on June 7, almost a month ahead of the deadline for its implementation.

The COVID-19 passport includes information on the holder such as first and last name, date of birth, issuing state and a unique QR code. It also contains information on whether the holder has been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative of Coronavirus. The European Commission has set the maximum validity of the certificate of recovery at 180 days, and it will be free of charge.

According to Belgium’s summer plan, the hospitality sector, including bars and restaurants, which currently have only opened their terraces for service, will open indoor spaces from 5 am to 11 pm.

Workers will also be allowed to return to offices, and households can start hosting up to four people at once.

Previously, the World Travel and Tourism Council applauded EU’s COVID-19 passport introduction by highlighting how important this document is, especially for travelling, tourism and economy.

Similarly to WTTC, an over 60 organization alliance, the European Tourism Manifesto has welcomed EU’s COVID-19 Passport adoption.  The Alliance has also made a call on the Member States to start the implementation before July, so the sector is ready just in time for summer and ensures free movement across the European Union and the Schengen Zone.

However, the Alliance advised the Member States to set a standard time limit for PCR testing requirements, establish a minimum age for children who are required to provide a negative test result, abolish requirements for passengers crossing countries, and adopt a prompt European Digital Passenger Locator Form.

According to World Health Organization statistics, Belgium, in the last 24 hours, has reported no deaths and one positive case of COVID-19.



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