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EU to tighten travel as fear of 3rd wave of coronavirus mounts

The European Commission proposed to the EU leaders where they have identified dark red coronavirus hot spots from which all but essential travel must be stopped. This was discussed after the meeting with the leaders and the fact that the virus has been mutating is the main reason why these restrictions should be in place.

The leaders have also agreed that there should be a common standard for vaccine certificates for medical purposes during a video conference held recently.

In the meeting held, the European commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that the health situation in Europe is ‘very serious’ with new variants becoming more infectious and thus increasing the infections.

She stressed that the countries should not close the borders to allow transportation between the countries for goods & services and also to facilitate cross-border workers.

However, she said that the commission would add a new ‘dark red’ category to its traffic light indications where the region has a high risk of contracting coronavirus. Today, almost all of the regions of Europe have a red circle.

“Persons traveling from dark red areas could be required to do a test before departure, as well as to undergo quarantine after arrival,” said the President, and adding to the point, the president said all but essential travel must be discouraged in these areas.

Syringes filled with a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine are prepared at the CHIREC Delta Hospital in Brussels, Belgium January 21, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman

German chancellor Angela Merkel said that the new mutated strain found in the UK, South America should be considered and monitored as they have a high risk of spread and thus avoiding the third wave.

“We can’t rule out border closures, but want to prevent them though cooperation within the European Union,” she told in a virtual conference.

Separately, the EU executive wants the 27 member states to agree with a common approach to vaccination certificates by the end of January. However, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the vaccine passports are needed to be introduced and looked at with great caution because it is not clear that vaccinated people could still transmit the virus to others.

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