Ministers approved a non-binding recommendation implementing a common mapping to define risk areas in the European Union.
Several countries abstained – including Luxembourg.
The text provides for the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) to publish a weekly map of the situation in all EU Member States – at regional level – with a common color code, depending on the level of risk of an area, namely green, orange or red.
These areas are defined based on the criteria of the number of new cases reported per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days and the level of “positivity” of the covid-19 tests.
A fourth color – gray – is provided for areas where there is insufficient data or when the number of tests performed per 100,000 inhabitants is considered too small.
According to this recommendation, passengers coming from the orange, red or gray area may be required – on arrival – for quarantine and / or detection.
Travelers coming from a green area are not subject to any measures.
The EU’s borders remain open to citizens of the Member States of the Union.
EU Member States must not refuse entry to their territory to travelers coming from another EU Member State – which is what Hungary is currently doing, with some exceptions targeting Czech, Polish and Slovak citizens.
The text provides that the results of the tests shall be mutually recognized and the exemption from quarantine of passengers who perform a number of functions, considered essential.
A country planning to implement restrictive measures for travelers coming from an area considered at risk is obliged to inform the Member State concerned – if possible 48 hours before the entry into force of these measures.
The public is also required to be notified at least 24 hours in advance.
The implementation of a single European travel form is also foreseen.
Stressing that France “has been fighting for many weeks for this concrete result”, French Secretary of State for European Affairs Clément Beaune hailed the recommendation as “essential progress in an area that has too often been left to isolated national initiatives”. and incoherent ”.
Instead, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn – whose country abstained – said the text needed to be “completed and deepened” by adding other criteria – such as the number of tests, results, mortality, hospital situation, number of patients. intensive care beds.
Jean Asselborn appreciated that his country is “punished” because of its large-scale testing policy and expressed regret that the principle of free movement of the “Schengen area is an exception at this time”.
More than 6.5 million cases of covid-19 and more than 240,000 deaths have been reported in Europe, according to AFP data.
Europe is facing a further intensification of the spread of the new coronavirus, which countries are trying to control by tightening measures again – including restricting contacts, closing bars, restaurants, night bans, local quarantines .