Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has made further recommendations for a “common approach” for EU and Schengen Member States to follow regarding travel restrictions and the classification of “high risk” areas, according to a press release published by the Commission and maps published by the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC).
The further recommendations for a common approach by Member States is in response to the lack of any coordination thus far between Member States in regard to classification of “high risk” areas and travel restrictions.
According to the Commission’s press release, there are four areas of concentration necessary in order to ensure a common approach on all fronts by Member States:
- Common Criteria
- Unified notification rate, which is the number of positive cases per 100,000 residents during a 14-day period in a given region.
- The test positivity rate, which is the percentage of positive tests in an area during a 7-day period.
- The testing rate, which is the number of COVID-19 tests given in an area during a 7-day period.
- A common map
- Maps will be made weekly to ensure a common rating system for risk associated with certain areas within the EU. Colors associated on the maps will be:
- Green if the notification rate is less than 25 and the positivity rate is less than 4%.
- Orange is the notification rate is less than 50 bur the positivity rate is less than 4% or if the notification rate ranges from 125 to 150 but the positivity rate is less than 4%.
- Red if the notification rate is more than 50 and the positivity rate is more than 4%, or if the notification rate is more than 150.
- Grey if there is not enough information reported, or if the notification rate is 300 or less.
- A common approach to travelers
- Member States will use the common maps to determine their travel restrictions.
- Member States have already agreed that they will not impose any restrictions on people coming from ‘green’ areas on the maps.
- Travel restrictions, such as entry bans, quarantine, or COVID-19 testing will be up to the Member States to decide individually; there will not be a common EU-wide approach on which restrictions to impose or lift at the time of writing this article.
- Essential workers will not need to undergo quarantine to enter and perform their duties.
- Information on which Member States impose or lift restrictions will be available on the Re-open EU website, available here.
- Clear and timely information to the public about any travel restrictions
- New upcoming restrictions to free movement, or the lifting of restrictions will be published at least 24 hours before they come into effect. They will be posted on the re-open EU website, which is available here.
At the time of writing this article, it is still unclear whether all Member States will being to coordinate their response to COVID-19 or not.
New maps will be published weekly by the ECDC every Thursday. The website on which they will be published is available by clicking this link.