EU sets limit of Covid passes to nine months for international travellers

·2-min read
People sunbathe on Hendaye' beach, southwestern France (AP)

The European Commission has announced the validity of Covid passes for international travel is nine months after vaccination on Tuesday.

The new rule for the EU Covid-19 certificate will come into force for its 27 member states from February 1.

This means EU states will be obliged to grant entry to fully vaccinated travellers with a valid pass.

However, they could still impose further requirements such as negative tests or quarantines as long as they are proportionate.

Countries can still set their own rules for domestic passes.

No time limit has been set on booster jab passes because there is not yet enough information about the duration of protection from a third dose, the EU official said.

People sunbathe on Hendaye’ beach, southwestern France (AP)
People sunbathe on Hendaye’ beach, southwestern France (AP)

The decision came in a bid to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant across the continent.

Seven EU states are currently requiring fully vaccinated travellers from other EU countries to also show a negative Covid-19 test upon arrival.

The states are Italy, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Latvia, Cyprus and Austria.

EU Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said: “We prefer to use for the free movement in Europe only the certificate without additional measures.”

He noted the additional requirements could be justified by concerns caused by the spread of the Omicron variant but governments had to prove they were proportionate and necessary.

The Commission was still assessing the measures, Reynders said, adding infringements proceedings for time-limited restrictions made little sense.

The national measures are mostly limited to the Christmas period, although Italy’s extend until the end of January.

The new rules apply only for international travel.

Governments will be able to have a different duration of the Covid-19 pass for access to events or indoor activities within their territories.

The measures apply to two shots of vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca and Moderna, or a single jab of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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