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EU executive pushes for tighter borders with pre-entry virus tests

The European Commission has recommended that all EU states tighten their frontiers, requiring travellers from third countries to hand over a negative PCR coronavirus test result that is less than 72 hours old before departure.

Brussels, 25 January 2021 (dpa/MIA) – The European Commission has recommended that all EU states tighten their frontiers, requiring travellers from third countries to hand over a negative PCR coronavirus test result that is less than 72 hours old before departure.

“There is an urgent need to reduce the risk of travel-related infections to lessen the burden on overstretched health care systems,” EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said on Monday, pointing to very high infection rates in many member states.

The requirement could be paired with mandatory quarantine for up to two weeks, and forms providing information on people’s movements and contact details should be obligatory, according to a press release.

The commission’s advice – a bid to contain new coronavirus variants from ripping through the bloc – is non-binding.

If taken up by the 27 member states, even non-EU travellers on “essential” trips into the bloc – for work or family purposes – would need a negative test. However, EU citizens or residents would be allowed to test on arrival. Transport and cross-border workers would be permitted to use quicker, cheaper antigen tests.

The EU executive branch also wants stricter rules within the bloc: All non-essential trips within the European Union should stop.

As almost all of Europe is currently in the highest “red” category of the EU colour-coded risk map, the EU executive has proposed a new “dark red” category subject to tighter requirements within the bloc.

An area would classify as such when the 14-day Covid-19 infection rate is more than 500 per 100,000 people – presently the case in parts of France and Portugal, for example.

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