October 22, 2020

EU Council Advises on Coordinated Approach to Travel Restrictions

The European Union Council has recommended a coordinated approach to pandemic-related travel restriction decisions and information sharing. Member states are asked to provide a weekly update on their Covid-19 statistics to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which will publish a color-coded map of EU member states to convey updated infection metrics.

What has changed?

The EU Council adopted recommendations for a unified approach to travel restrictions to avoid “fragmentation and disruption, and to increase transparency and predictability for citizens and businesses.” The goals are to help member states make better regional decisions and ensure that any restriction measures are proportionate and lifted as soon as health and safety conditions allow.

It is recommended that EU member states provide the ECDC with the following statistics each week:

    • number of newly identified Covid-19 cases per 100,000 population in the last 14 days
    • number of tests per 100,000 population carried out in the last week (testing rate)
    • percentage of positive tests carried out in the last week (test positivity rate)

Based on the results, the ECDC will issue a weekly map with color-coded recommendations as follows:

    • Green if the 14-day notification rate is lower than 25 and the test positivity rate is below 4%. Free movement of persons should not be restricted to and from green areas.
    • Orange if the 14-day notification rate is lower than 50 but the test positivity rate is 4% or higher or, if the 14-day notification rate is between 25 and150 and the test positivity rate is below 4%. Any restrictive actions considered in the orange zone should be proportionate.
    • Red if the 14-day notification rate is 50 or higher and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher, or if the 14-day notification rate is higher than 150. Any restrictive actions considered in the red zone should be proportionate.
    • Grey if there is insufficient information or if the testing rate is lower than 300.

The EU Council also advised that member states shouldn’t in principal refuse entry to persons traveling from other member states. However, if a member state does decide to impose travel restrictions, they should consider requesting those traveling from non-green areas to undergo pre- or post-arrival testing or quarantining. The Council also recommended the development of a common European passenger locator form, to be submitted by all those traveling between member states.

Member states opting to implement travel restrictions are also advised to inform the affected member state primarily, followed by other member states and the Commission, ideally 48 hours in advance of the restriction being implemented. Clear guidance on any restrictions and requirements should be also published 24 hours before the measures go into effect.

For further information on travel restrictions across the EU, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team. 

Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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