EU to allow fully vaccinated travellers

The recommendations made by the European Union diplomats during a meeting in Brussels is expected to be adopted by the EU ministers on Friday, reports Asian Lite Newsdesk

The member states of the European Union have reportedly agreed to reopen the bloc’s borders to tourists and other foreign travellers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to media reports.

The recommendations by the diplomats of the 27-member European Union include increasing the level of new cases a country can hit before being declared unsafe.

According to reports, the bloc will increase number of cases per 100,000 people that a country could register over two weeks and still be considered for the green list from 25 to 75. This move will help many member countries to open doors for travellers from more places.

It is learnt that these recommendations will be adopted by EU ministers on Friday.

Currently, almost all non-essential travel into the bloc are banned, apart from a small number of countries deemed safe because of their level of new cases are considerably low compared to other countries.

The businesses across the bloc are reopening as virus restrictions are phased out and bars, hotels and restaurants are concerned about the summer tourist trade, it was reported.

Last week, European Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said that EU has already had the right conditions for a “safe reopening” of tourism in summer.

“The situation remains difficult. However, I am sure that we finally see light at the end of the tunnel and now we have the tools,” he said at the High-Level Forum for Sustainable Tourism held in the Portuguese city of Porto on Friday.

Breton said the considerable increase in the production capacity of vaccines suggested that there will be enough doses to vaccinate 70 per cent of the EU population by mid-July.

As for the “vaccine passport” in Europe, the Commissioner said: “The European Parliament and the Council are now ready to finalize negotiations by the end of May”.

Breton added that he is “confident of having it ready for the summer”.

Portuguese Economy Minister Pedro Siza Vieira said at the forum that the EU countries need to adopt a common approach for the reopening of tourism with a focus on the immediate recovery of the sector.

The Minister stressed that the tourism sector is fundamental for the recovery of European economies in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, a recent survey has suggested that more than a quarter of adults (27 per cent) in the bloc are “very unlikely” to get themselves vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a large survey of 47,000 people.

The survey by Eurofound, an EU agency, conducted between February and March, showed that vaccine hesitancy was more in females (29 per cent) than men (25 per cent), the Euronews reported. Young adults between the ages of 35 and 49 were slightly more sceptical about the vaccines than their younger or older peers. The reluctance to the Covid jabs was found most in Bulgaria, where 61 per cent stated they are very or rather unlikely to get the vaccine. The country is followed by Latvia and Croatia which both have rates of over 40 per cent, the report said.

More than a third of respondents in France and Austria declared they were unlikely to get inoculated.

travellers in the arrivals hall at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, south China

On the other hand, people in Denmark, Malta and Ireland were least hesitant. Less than 10 per cent respondents in these regions indicated they were very unlikely or rather unlikely to take it.

Further, the report also found a correlation between vaccine hesitancy and social media use. Forty per cent of people who said they use social media as their primary source of news are hesitant about the vaccines, while only 18 per cent of those who use traditional news sources as their main source of information are. Trust in the government, unemployment, long-term illness, or disability also played a role in increasing the hesitancy, the report said.

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