Brussels studies adapting the requirements to travel in the European Union
The Council of Ministers of the European Union plans to approve next Tuesday to impose a expiration date of the Covid certificate when the carrier has not received the third dose, but the Governments have not yet decided what to do with the validity of the booster injection, the third dose, because in the event of imposing a specific period of validity, it would mean making a fourth dose mandatory, which is something that scientists have not yet endorsed.
As regards the rules for travel within the Schengen area, all governments have had to admit that the map of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has turned completely dark red with the Omicron variant, which which turns into relatively unnecessary some of the current measures and, in fact, according to diplomatic sources, the first option will be to stop using the map as a reference.
The ministers will then have to decide on issues such as the duration of the quarantines and the validity of the PCR tests, which until now have been the main criteria to facilitate travel within the European free circulation area. The problem is that many of these rules are national in scope and each country can apply its own as long as they are not discriminatory. Estonia, for example, announced yesterday, Saturday, that as of Monday it will continue to apply the same rules as before on the validity of certificates and PCR tests (of no more than 72 hours) or of antigens (no more than 24 hours) and that it maintains its criterion of using the ECDC contagion map, while other countries such as Spain are pressing the opposite to start applying the political criterion of considering Covid-19 as an endemic disease, which could revitalize the movement of tourists.
The decision will be made on Tuesday in any case, in the General Affairs Council of Ministers, which is the first on the calendar after the more technical one on Foreign Affairs scheduled for Monday. The Governments and the Commission do not want to wait for the next Council of Health Ministers, scheduled for February 9.
The validity of the Covid certificate with two doses will therefore be established in 270 days for travel, but for use within each country, governments will have to establish the rules that they consider necessary to apply. As for trips to or from outside the Schengen area, the different governments do not have joint criteria, so no changes are expected with respect to the current model.