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Airlines for Europe Criticizes EU’s Plan to Make Vaccination Certificates Valid for Only 9 Months

Europe’s airlines representative, Airlines for Europe (A4E), has called on EU governments to refuse to introduce new travel restrictions and maintain the freedom of movement across the 27-nation-bloc.

In a press release, A4E also reacted to the EU Commission’s decision to shorten the validity of vaccination certificates and require third inoculations (booster shots) to be taken to maintain full-vaccination status, thus, be able to travel across the 27-nation-bloc, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

“The recommendation to shorten vaccine certificate validity to nine months and require third doses (booster shots) to maintain this status is premature and may put people’s ability to travel at risk, given many EU countries are yet to make third doses available to the majority of their adult populations,” A4E revealed in the press release.

In addition, the authority welcomed the Council Recommendation latest update proposal for inbound travel to the EU from third countries, especially the decision to abolish the white list starting in March of 2022. According to the authority, this change will improve predictability for international travellers planning their journeys by setting clear rules on travel requirements.

However, continuing to implement the ECDC’s colour-coded system does not sit well with airlines representative authority. As the press release reveals, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), travel restrictions do not affect the spread of COVID-19 in Europe; thus, implementing the colour-coded system is unnecessary and that governments should impose entry rules based on travellers’ vaccination status.

Furthermore, the European Commission has proposed to end the colour-coded system, starting from January 10, 2022. ECDC’s weekly-updated map currently only takes into account the number of COVID-19 cases, testing and death rates. The Commission proposed that for ECDC to update the maps while also including the effects of increased vaccination.

Recently, ECDC has stated that the COVID-19 situation in the 27-nation-bloc is worse than ever. Based on the recent statement, the European Health Agency showed that most EU Member States – Austria, Belgium, Czechia, half of Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Ireland, Iceland, Poland, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Greece, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, and Slovakia – are currently part of the dark red list.

The most affected countries remain in the Central Europe Region, with Germany reporting 401,879 positive cases with COVID-19 in the last seven days, in addition to Poland with 157,810, Czechia about 131,731 and 96,444 in Austria.

In order to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19, EU countries at risk introduced tighter rules with Austria ordering a national lockdown until December 19, in addition to Slovakia entering an emergent two-week lockdown and Portugal requiring test evidence upon entry even for fully vaccinated travellers.

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