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Only children under 6 exempt from Covid testing for travel abroad under new EU rules

EU countries can bring in an emergency brake to foreign travel if their Covid-19 situation deteriorates rapidly

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Passengers leaving the Departures Gate at Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport

Passengers leaving the Departures Gate at Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport

Passengers leaving the Departures Gate at Terminal 1 at Dublin Airport

Only children under six are exempted from Covid testing if they want to travel abroad with their parents under updated EU rules today.

The need for tests will add to the expense of a holiday if they must be PCR tests.

EU countries can bring in an emergency brake to foreign travel if their Covid-19 situation deteriorates rapidly or where a high prevalence of variants of concern or interest has been reported, it emerged.

The brake is allowed for under the European Commission's plans for a digital Covid cert to kickstart summer travel.

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Under the updated terms:

*People who have vaccination certs in line with the EU Digital Covid-19 certificate should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine 14 days after having received the last dose.

This should also cover people who had a confirmed case of the virus and received one dose of vaccine.

Where Member States accept proof of vaccination in order to waive restrictions to free movement also in other situations, for example after the first dose in a 2-dose series, they should also accept, under the same conditions, vaccination certificates for a Covid-19 vaccine.

*People who have recovered from Covid-19 holding certificates in line with the EU Digital Covid-19 cert should be exempted from travel-related testing or quarantine during the first 180 days after a positive PCR test.

Those with a valid test certificate in line with the EU Digital Covid cert should be exempted from possible quarantine requirements. The Commission proposes a standard validity period for tests: 72 hours for PCR tests and, where accepted by a Member State, 48 hours for rapid antigen tests.

*Member States should re-introduce travel measures if the epidemiological situation deteriorates rapidly or where a high prevalence of variants of concern or interest has been reported.

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Under the scheme the criteria included:

Travellers from green areas: no restrictions

Travellers from orange areas: member States could require a pre-departure test (rapid antigen or PCR).

Travellers from red areas: Member States could require travellers to undergo quarantine, unless they have a pre-departure test (rapid antigen or PCR).

Travellers from dark red areas: non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged. Requirement of testing and quarantine remain.

It said that to ensure family unity, children travelling with parents should be exempted from quarantine when the parents do not need to undergo quarantine, for example due to vaccination.

Children under 6 should also be exempted from travel-related testing.

The Commission proposes to adapt the thresholds of the European Centre for Disease Control map in view of the epidemiological situation and progress on vaccination.
For the areas marked in orange the proposal is to increase the threshold of 14-day cumulative Covid -19 case notification rate from 50 to 75.

Similarly, for the red areas the proposal is to adjust the threshold range from current 50-150 to the new 75-150.

The EU statement said that "in addition, the Commission calls for further efforts to ensure a smooth rollout of the EU Digital Covid certificate.

"For this purpose, Member States should make use, to the maximum extent possible, of existing possibilities under national law to start issuing EU Digital Covid certificates already before the entry into application of the underlying Regulation on July 1.

"Where national law provides for the verification of Covid-19certificates , holders of an EU Digital Covid 19 cert could already make use of it when travelling.

"The Commission will support this process by launching the central part of the EU Digital Covid Certificate, the EU gateway storing the public keys needed for the verification of an EU Digital Covid cert tomorrow.”

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