Republic of Cyprus

Country Categories & Entry Requirements

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People Entering from Red Category Countries require the following:

 

  • a PCR laboratory test <72 hours old prior to departure 

  • a PCR/fast antigen test upon arrival in the Republic of Cyprus and you must remain in self-isolation until the test result is issued.– the test cost is payable by the traveller.  

  • Complete the Cyprus Flight pass document online <48 hours before departure


The following categories of passengers may enter after having undergone, at their own expense, a laboratory test only upon their arrival in the Republic of Cyprus: 

 

  1. Cypriot citizens and family members (alien spouses and their underage children), 

  2. Persons legally residing in the Republic, and 

  3. Persons entitled to enter the Republic under the Vienna Convention. 


These people must remain in mandatory self-isolation for 72 hours upon arrival and after the end of the 72-hour period they must undergo another PCR test, at their own expense. If the repeat test is negative, they can then terminate their isolation. The test result must be sent to the following email address: monada@mphs.moh.gov.cy


Vaccinated Passengers
Passengers a valid vaccination certificate from the public authorities of the countries referred below, regardless of their nationality, can travel to the RoC, from any country, without needing to meet the prerequisites of the corresponding country category (e.g. RT-PCR laboratory tests, self-isolation, quarantine etc., or issuance of a special permission to enter the country). 


Vaccinated passengers still have to complete, <48 hours before their last departure flight to Cyprus, the necessary application form and obtain a CyprusFlightPass by visiting the link www.cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/vaccinated-fly-request.


The vaccination certificate is considered acceptable if all of the below apply:

 

  1. The vaccine has been administered by the public authorities of the countries below.

  2. The vaccine administered is either one of the approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) or the Sputnik (Gam-COVID-Vac) or the Sinopharm  (BBIBP COVID-19) or Sinovac Vaccine. 

  3. All the required doses of the respective vaccine have already been administered.

  4. The required time frame has elapsed between the administration of the final dose and the date of travel.

 

On arrival vaccinated passengers may still be required to undertake RT-PCR laboratory sampling examination, and must adhere to the health protocols in force in the RoC.


Persons who have received a combination of different types of the above vaccines (eg 1st dose Vaxzevria (AstraZeneca) and second dose Pfizer-BioNTech), when completing the application for the cyprusflightpass must declare the vaccine administered to him/her as a second dose, and date of administration of the dose of the first vaccine.


Passengers who have not been vaccinated by the countries referred here, regardless of their nationality, will be able to travel to travel to the Republic of Cyprus, from any country category (green, orange, red or grey), provided they complete, within 48 hours before the commencement of their travel from the country of origin to the Republic of Cyprus (either direct flight or via intermediate countries) the necessary application form and obtain a CyprusFlightPass, by visiting the following link: www.cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/fly-request.


Time Frame for travel purposes
Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Vaccine -  14days must have elapsed between the completion of the required dose of the vaccine (1-dose vaccine) and the date of travel.
Vaxzervia Vaccine (AstraZeneca) - completion of the required doses of the vaccine.
Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine - completion of the required doses of the vaccine.
Moderna Vaccine - completion of the required doses of the vaccine.
Sputnik (Gam-COVID-Vac) Vaccine - completion of the required doses of the vaccine.
Sinopharm(BBIBPCOVID-19) Vaccine - completion of the required doses of the vaccine.

Entry Conditions for Vaccinated People Arriving in the RoC – applies from 10 May 2021


Passengers holding a valid certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 arriving in Cyprus from abroad, regardless of their nationality and country of departure, shall be exempted from the obligation of laboratory testing and self-isolation/quarantine, provided: 


1) They hold a valid certificate of vaccination issued by the following states: 
EU Member States (including Cyprus) 
EEA Member States (Island, Lichtenstein, Norway) 
Switzerland, Israel, United Kingdom, Russia, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Belarus, Serbia, Qatar, Bahrein, United States of America, Armenia, Georgia, Canada and  Kuwait 


2) They have been vaccinated either with one of the vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency (Pfizer/BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Janssen), or with Sputnik V, Sinopharm or Sinovac vaccine and have completed their vaccination scheme.


For vaccines that are given as 2 doses, passengers should have taken both doses, for the Janssen vaccine (single dose vaccine) 14 days must elapse between the administration of the vaccine and the date of travel. 


More information available on: https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/vaccinated-passengers. 


All passengers, regardless of the country’s category, including those holding a valid certificate of vaccination are obliged to apply for the CyprusFlightPass 24 hours before the departure of their flight.   Passengers on selected flights may undergo a random laboratory molecular testing performed by the Ministry of Health (including passengers holding a certificate of vaccination).

UK Citizens Entry to the TRNC via ROC


Since the UK left the European Union (EU), the UK is now classified as a third country and visa and immigration rules for 3rd country nationals now apply to all UK citizens.  This has changed UK Citizens’ rights of access to Cyprus, as UK Citizens no longer have the right of ‘Freedom of Movement’ granted to all EU Citizens.


Since Brexit, UK Citizens are entitled to ‘visa free’ access to Cyprus for 90 days in every 180 days.  This means anyone who enters via the Republic of Cyprus can remain on the island for up to 90 days in every 180 days.  If UK citizens wish to remain on the island for a longer period they must obtain a residency permit from the Republic of Cyprus (note: TRNC Residency Permits are not recognised).  Residents of the TRNC are not permitted to apply for a Republic of Cyprus Residency Permit, only those UK Citizens who live within the Republic of Cyprus.


According to the Green Line Regulation, anyone with a valid visa (a third country ‘visa free’ entry is classified as a valid visa) may cross the green line into the TRNC and return.  Any restrictions to foreigners crossing who hold a valid visa, is a breach of an International Treaty.  In 2020 Greek Cypriot restrictions to Green Line Crossings were allowed as a result of Covid-19, however, as the threat of Covid-19 decreases these restrictions will be removed and movement across the borders between the North and the South should be allowed again.


The following is a summary of the current implications for those people wishing to enter and cross to and from the South.

March 2021
The UK is classified as a ‘Grey’ country, as per all other 3rd Country Nationals, which means no entry is permitted to the Republic of Cyprus, with the exception of RoC Citizens or UK National with RoC Residency, plus a few other exempt people (full details below)


April 2021
UK will be classified under the new Republic of Cyprus Red/Amber/Green Country Classification system.  Entry Requirements from the UK will depend on the Country Classification (see below).  If the UK is classified into Green or Amber categories then entry to the RoC will be permitted, if the entry criteria are met.  If the UK is classified as Red then entry will not be permitted, with the exceptions of RoC Citizens or UK National with RoC Residency, plus a few other exempt people (full details below)


May 2021 onwards
From 1st May UK Citizens who have had 2 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be permitted to enter the RoC without restrictions (method of proof not yet agreed).  Those who have not had 2 doses of the vaccine will need to meet the requirements of the Country Classification system (see below).

Crossing to and from the TRNC
The following summarises the implications of the Brexit Changes on UK Citizens rights to cross into and out of the TRNC.  There has been considerable debate recently with respect to whether UK Citizens will be able to cross into the TRNC.  The following guidance has been verified with the British High Commission.


Tourist (those who stay in Cyprus < 90day in every rolling 180 days)
Entry to and exist from the TRNC is allowed under the Green Line Regulation 


Resident (those who stay >90 days in Cyprus in every 180 days)


Generally, Residents who remain in Cyprus for more than 90 days will not be permitted to cross into the RoC, as they will have either entered into the country via an illegal port of entry (Ercan) or overstayed their visa, and hence be liable to a penalty.  The following covers various scenarios and the implications:

 

1. Last entry to the TRNC via Ercan – crossing into RoC not permitted

2. Last entry to the TRNC via Larnaca/Paphos – crossing to the RoC permitted only if you entered Cyprus <90 days earlier and you have not exceeded your 90 days in every rolling 180 days allowance.  Once you have exceeded your 90 days in 180 days allowance you cannot cross into the RoC and must exit the country from Ercan, as you will be in breach of your Cyprus ‘visa free’ travel visa.

 

3. Last exit from TRNC via Ercan (before January 2021) – arrival at Larnaca/Paphos permitted and crossing to the TRNC permitted.  After 90 days you will not be able to exit via Larnaca/Paphos, but must exit via Ercan (as 2 above)

 

4. Last entry and exit from TRNC via Ercan (after January 2021) – arrival at Larnaca/Paphos is permitted as your previous entry and exit did not involve entry via the RoC, so provided you have not been in Cyprus in the 90 days prior to entry you are permitted to enter. 

 

5. Last entry from Larnaca and exit from TRNC via Ercan (after January 2021) – arrival at Larnaca/Paphos not permitted as you exited the country from an illegal port and hence you are in breach of your previous visa conditions.

 

6. Last exit from TRNC via Larnaca/Paphos – arrival at Larnaca/Paphos and crossing to the TRNC is permitted, provided you have not been in Cyprus in the last 90 days, or less (i.e. your entry does not breach your 90 day ‘visa free’ visa).  


Full details of the rules for entry to Cyprus are shown at the following link:
 

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cyprus/entry-requirements

Source: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/cyprus/entry-requirements; British High Commission, Cyprus; http://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/eng/categories/press-releases


 

COVID-19 Destination Protocol, Cyprus – updated 1st March 2021 

Q1: How will travellers be able to enter the country (from 1st March onwards)? 
As from March 1st, Cyprus is changing the way it categorizes countries, and will instead be following a colour-coded system harmonized with ECDC evaluation standards. Therefore, only countries not included on ECDC lists, will be evaluated separately by the Cyprus government. 
Below are the entry requirements when somebody is traveling to Cyprus. 

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  • Persons traveling from GREEN countries will not need to demonstrate a negative PCR test for COVID-19 when traveling to Cyprus; they only need to provide certain information and solemn declarations.

  • Persons traveling from ORANGE countries are required to take a PCR test at a certified lab, with the sample < 72 hours prior to flight departure, and upload a certificate that demonstrates a negative PCR for COVID-19, on the Cyprus Flight Pass Platform. Children <12 years old are exempted from testing. All travellers will also need to provide certain information and solemn declarations. 


The following persons will be allowed to enter the Republic of Cyprus without a PCR test, and may take a PCR test upon arrival in the Republic, at their own expense.  Such persons must remain in self-isolation until the test result is issued, upon entry to the Republic of Cyprus: 


1. Cypriot citizens and members of their families (foreign spouses and children) 
2. Legal residents of the Republic 
3. Passengers entitled to enter the Republic under the Vienna Convention
4. Persons in countries where the authorities duly substantiate and following an announcement by the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Cyprus, are not in a position to offer Covid-19 testing to those wishing to travel.

 

  • Persons traveling from RED countries are required to take a PCR test at a certified lab, with the sample taken <72 hours prior to flight departure, and upload a certificate that demonstrates a negative PCR for COVID-19, on the Cyprus Flight Pass Platform. They will also need to pay for and undergo a PCR test upon arrival to Cyprus, the cost of which is 30€ at Larnaca airport and 32€ at Paphos airport; results of the test will be available within 3 hours, and will be shared with the traveller by SMS after his or her departure from the airport. Only children <12 year old are exempted from testing. All travellers will also need to provide certain information and solemn declarations. 

 

  • The following categories of passengers may enter the Republic of Cyprus from Red Category countries, after having undergone, at their own expense, a laboratory test only upon their arrival in the Republic of Cyprus: 

    • Cypriot citizens and members of their families (foreign spouses and children

    • Legal residents of the Republic. 

    • Passengers entitled to enter to the Republic under the Vienna Convention 

 

These persons may choose to undergo only one lab test, namely upon their arrival to Cyprus, but must then remain in a status of obligatory self-isolation for three (3) days. On day 4, they need to undergo a second PCR test for Covid-19, again at their own expense. The result of the lab test must be submitted to the electronic address monada@mphs.moh.gov.cy 

Persons traveling from GREY countries are required to undergo a PCR Test, with the sample taken <72 hours prior to flight departure, and upload a certificate that demonstrates a negative PCR for COVID-19, on the Cyprus Flight Pass Platform. In addition, they will remain in a status of obligatory self-isolation / quarantine for 14 days or a status of obligatory self-isolation / quarantine for 10 days, provided they undergo another PCR test for Covid-19 on the 10th day, at their own expense. The result of the lab test must be submitted to the electronic address monada@mphs.moh.gov.cy. Children < 12 years old are exempted from testing. All travellers will also need to provide certain information and solemn declarations. 

Travel from GREY countries, is allowed only for:

  • Cypriot citizens and their family members (spouses and children) 

  • Persons legally residing in the Republic of Cyprus 

  • EU citizens, citizens of European Economic Area (Island, Lichtenstein, Norway) and Switzerland o Persons allowed to enter the Republic of Cyprus in accordance with the Vienna Convention 

  • Citizens of third countries, provided they obtain prior special permission from the Republic of Cyprus, as defined under the Infectious Diseases Decree (N.2/2021 8.1.21), as amended. The application for a Special Permission must be submitted on the Cyprus Flight Pass Platform (https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/special.permission). 


Note: European Union citizens, citizens of EEA (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway), citizens of Switzerland and citizens of third countries, must undergo a

 

PCR test prior to departure, as stipulated above. The other categories of passengers have the choice of either taking the test prior to their departure or taking it upon entry to the Republic of Cyprus, at their own expense. 

 

v. The full list of categorized countries can be found above or on www.cyprusflightpass.gov.cy


In accordance with the Quarantine Decree (No. 9) of the 26th of February 2021, until 23:59 on 31 March 2021, persons arriving from the United Kingdom shall undergo a laboratory test upon their arrival at Larnaka and Pafos Airports and shall be transported, at the state’s expense, to hotels of the Republic for a mandatory 7-day isolation. On the 7th day upon arrival they shall undergo another laboratory test (at the Republic’s expense) and in case of a negative result they shall remain in self-isolation for another 3 days (total days in mandatory isolation: 10 days).


Travelers should constantly visit this platform in order to remain up to date about possible changes that may affect their trip. 

 

Q2: What other documentation is necessary for traveling to Cyprus? 


A ‘Cyprus Flight Pass’ is available on the website www.cyprusflightpass.gov.cy, which can be accessed and filled in electronically. All passengers traveling to the Republic of Cyprus need to fill in and submit in advance, all required information and documents; use of the platform is obligatory for anyone who wishes to fly to the Republic of Cyprus. ONLY in the event of a technical problem or scheduled maintenance of the electronic platform (officially announced on the electronic platform) will passengers be allowed to fill in the required forms, in writing. These can be downloaded from https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/download-forms. In this case, travellers have to carry with them, in paper form, the required documentation. 


The flight pass will include the following points: 
a) personal information of the passenger, 
b) declaration whether or not a person has travelled to/from/through or stayed/lived in a country with less favourable epidemiological criteria compared to the country of departure within 14 days before their arrival to the Republic of Cyprus, 
c) confirmation that a person has not experienced one of the following symptoms – fever, cough, fatigue, headache, muscle or body aches, loss of taste or smell, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, sore throat, congestion or runny nose within the last 14 days or he/she has not been in close contact with a COVID19 confirmed case within the last 14 days, 
d) disclaimer that travel is taking place at a person’s own responsibility, and that the Republic of Cyprus or businesses operating within it, cannot be held liable for infection at any point during the travel process, 
e) disclaimer that upon return to their country of origin, a person will notify the Health Authorities of Cyprus, should they display COVID-19 disease in the 14 days after leaving the island,
f) request form for citizens of third countries travelling from Grey Category Countries, wishing to acquire special permission, by submitting their requests electronically through the following link: https//cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/el/special-permission-request. 

 

Airlines will not permit passengers to board the aircraft and travel to the Republic of Cyprus without a Cyprus Flight Pass (however, checking the validity of the information included in the Cyprus Flight Pass by travellers is NOT an obligation of the airlines). Any travellers arriving to the Republic of Cyprus without a Cyprus Flight Pass, will be subject to a fine of 300 €. 


Q3: What procedures are in place for persons who have been vaccinated for COVID-19? 
Information on this will be provided at a later date, once official guidance is available from European and international organizations such as ECDC and WHO. Until then, the same travel procedures will apply as for non-vaccinated persons. 


Q4: What criteria is taken into consideration by the Cyprus government, for the categorization of countries which do not feature on ECDC lists?
In order to categorize the specific countries, a panel of experts considers amongst others, the same criteria used by ECDC for the production of the lists (daily number of 4 performed tests per 100,000 population, cumulative 14-day impact per 100,000 population, positivity rate, testing rate). 

 

Travel protocols


 Q5: What protocols can be expected on airplanes? 
Prior to boarding, travellers will need to show their ‘Cyprus Flight Pass’ 
Travellers’ temperature may possibly be taken prior to boarding 
Wearing of masks is compulsory during the flight 


Q6: What other protocols can be expected in Cyprus airports/port terminals? 
Entrance or passage will only be allowed to travellers and staff 
Travelers will have their temperature taken in the terminal 
Wearing of masks is compulsory in all areas Destination protocols 


Q7: Are there any general protocols that will apply to the whole destination? 

  • Enhanced health, safety and hygiene protocols have been devised for all hospitality establishments, and extensive training of staff has taken place prior to the destination opening for visitors.

  • Physical distancing measures are followed in all parts of the destination, so that people who do not belong to the same travel group maintain a reasonable distance from each other (the minimum area occupied per person should be 2 sq. meters outdoors, and 3 sq. meters indoors).

  • Frequent ventilation is taking place in all indoor areas, so that air conditioning can be enhanced with regular input of fresh air. 

  • Antibacterial gel is available in all establishments, at entrances, reception areas, lounges, public toilets, lifts etc. 

  • Use of masks is compulsory in all indoor areas (taxis, buses, diving/safari jeeps, lifts, theatres, malls, etc.) and outdoor public places. Areas where people are seated whilst consuming food and beverage are excluded (restaurants, coffee shops, bars, snack-bars, lobby bars, etc.). Also exempted are beaches, swimming pools and instances where persons are exercising. In any case, travellers should always consult the Visit Cyprus website for the latest information on this matter, as procedures are likely to change at very short notice.

Q8: Buses/rental vehicles/taxis/diving and safari jeeps 

  • Frequent ventilation and disinfection of buses 

  • Disinfection of rental vehicles after their return (including keys)

  • Disinfection of all touch points after every route, for taxis and diving/safari jeeps (door handles, seats etc.) 

  • Capacity of tour buses is allowed at 100% 


Q9: Archaeological sites, museums, theme parks, mini cruises, diving sites, water sports 
Disinfection of all touch points after every use (artifacts, touch screens, rides, door handles, seats, diving equipment, water sports equipment etc.) 


Q10: Swimming pools, beaches and water parks 

  • Disinfection of sun beds, umbrellas and personal safe boxes after every use

  • Distance of 4m between umbrellas and 2m between sunbeds of persons not belonging to the same group 

  • Physical distancing will not apply to lifeguards who are called into urgent life-saving action


 Q11: Accommodation establishments 

  • Use of masks and carrying out of appropriate hand hygiene, for all front-of-house staff; for housekeeping staff gloves are also compulsory

  • Dispersion of guests at ‘group check-in’ 

  • Rooms will not be allocated to new arrivals, unless enough time has passed since the previous occupants left, for appropriate cleaning, disinfection and aeriation 

  • Disinfection of room keys/cards after every departure 

  • Where food or drink is displayed on self-service stations, appropriate sneeze guards or face masks are availed, and hand disinfection stations are installed; alternatively, items could be served directly by the staff 

  • The minimum area occupied between persons not belonging to the same party, is 2 square meters outdoors, and 3 square meters indoors.


Q12: Restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs and night clubs 

  • Use of masks and carrying out of appropriate hand hygiene, for all back-of-house and front-of-house staff 

  • The maximum party size is set at 6 persons per table. In any case, travellers should always consult the Visit Cyprus website for the latest information on this matter, as procedures are likely to change at very short notice. 

  • The minimum area occupied between persons not belonging to the same party, is 2 square meters outdoors, and 3 square meters indoors 

  • Menus are disinfected after every use, unless they are disposable; alternatively they will be displayed at various communal points of the establishment, or made available digitally 

  • Guests are encouraged to pay by card and not by cash 

  • Disinfection of all touch points is carried out after each use e.g. chairs, tables, salt/pepper mills, sauce bottles, electronic payment machines etc. 

  • An information sheet is made available at the entrance, displaying the maximum number of guests allowed in place at any given time 

  • Testing and quarantine procedures at the destination 


Q13: Is random testing going to be done at destination level? 
Entire flights are randomly asked to undergo a COVID-19 test upon arrival, irrespective of flight origination country. Children <12 years old are exempted. The cost in such cases is borne by the Cyprus government.

 
Q14: How will we deal with travellers who test positive during their stay in Cyprus, and what is our capacity to do so? What happens to their close contacts? Who will cover the cost of hospitalization and treatment? 

  • The Cyprus government is committed to taking care of all travellers who test positive for coronavirus during their stay, as well as their close contacts. The government will transfer these persons to separate facilities, covering the cost of lodging, food, drink, and medication; the traveller will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight, in collaboration with their agent and/or airline. Using separate facilities will not only ensure that patients are properly taken care of, but it will also provide peace of mind to other travellers, that their accommodation establishment is free of COVID-19. Should an establishment be found to host a person who has tested positive for coronavirus, it will thus not be ordered into a 14-day quarantine. 

  • More specifically, a COVID-19 hospital with a surplus of beds has been made available exclusively for travellers who test positive for coronavirus, and these can be increased at very short notice if required. If travellers show critical symptoms, a significant number of intensive care units and respirators are available for their treatment. 

  • In addition, 300 rooms in dedicated quarantine-hotels are available for close contacts of persons who test positive for coronavirus, and again these can be increased at very short notice if required. 


Q15: What is the definition of a close contact? 

  • A close contact is defined as ‘somebody who has come within very close physical contact of a person who has tested positive for coronavirus’ i.e. at a distance of less than 2m for more than 15 minutes. This may include for example, persons from the same family, co-travellers sharing the same room or even persons greeting each other by using physical contact. 

  • According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), for confirmed cases of COVID-19 it is recommended that contact tracing from an airplane, includes passengers seated two seats in all directions around the index case. 

Q16: What is the quarantine duration for close contacts?
The normal duration of quarantine is 10 days, provided that the traveller tests negative on day 10 (cost of testing is borne by the individual). The duration of quarantine can be reduced further if a traveller has an earlier return flight; in such a case, the patient needs to test negative for coronavirus on the day prior to their departure. Note that during the quarantine period, it is mandatory for the traveller to self-isolate in their room at all times. 
 

Further information 


Q17: How can travellers be kept up-to-date with the latest developments, and informed about protocols implemented at the destination? 
A dedicated email address has been set up by the Deputy Ministry of Tourism for this purpose at travel2020@visitcyprus.com 


A dedicated team of destination experts will reply to traveller queries on Facebook Messenger (main page www.facebook.com/VisitCyprus.cy ).

 

Additional pages are available in the following countries: UK, DE, RU, SWE, FR, AT, GR, IT, UKR, NED, POL, BEL, ES, CH, ISR. 


A dedicated call centre has been set up for the assistance of travelers who may have queries regarding the use of the “CyprusFlightPass”. 


The hours of operation of the help desk will be: 


Monday- Sunday 08:00- 20:00 Cyprus time 
Queries via telephone: 
Calls within Cyprus: 1474 
Calls from abroad: +357 22 285 757 


For queries in writing through the e-platform via the link: https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/en/contact-us 
All relevant information will also be made available on the websites www.visitcyprus.com and www.cyprusflightpass.gov.cy
 

EU’s COVID travel pass will let countries choose Russia, China vaccines

The offering underlines the tightrope the EU is walking on the issue.

The EU's plan to get vaccinated people traveling again — the “digital green certificate” — will leave key decisions up to member countries, including whether to accept the Russian and Chinese vaccines.

According to the plan released Wednesday, any EU country allowing vaccinated people to skip pandemic-related travel restrictions — such as testing or self-isolation — must accept other countries’ vaccination certificates “under the same conditions.” 

But, it adds, that obligation only extends to EU-approved COVID-19 vaccines, meaning Russia’s Sputnik V and China’s Sinopharm vaccines won't be covered, despite some EU countries, such as Hungary, using them. However, the plan says EU countries “can decide to accept other vaccines in addition.”

The offering shows the tightrope the EU is walking on the issue. Officials are trying to simultaneously navigate disparate vaccine regimes, get people moving again to restart the economy while balancing warnings that Russian and Chinese vaccines shouldn’t get the same status as EU-authorized vaccines against the need to get citizens inoculated as quickly as possible. 

Demonstrating how fraught the subject is, Andrea Ammon, the director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, said Tuesday there wasn't enough information yet on how long virus immunity from vaccines or prior infections lasts to justify granting special privileges.

The plans have also raised concerns that unvaccinated travelers could face discrimination. To circumvent this, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen previously said the certificate should not only cover travelers’ vaccinations, but also list their tests or recovery from the virus. 

“We aim to help member states reinstate the freedom of movement in a safe, responsible and trusted manner,” von der Leyen said Wednesday.

 

Open borders?

The certificate “cannot be a pre-condition to exercise free movement rights and cannot ... be a pre-condition to make use of cross-border passenger transport services such as airlines, trains, coaches or ferries,” the plan stresses.

The Commission plan includes an “interoperable test certificate” to improve the acceptance of test results in other EU countries, although it would still be up to the destination countries to determine “for how long a negative test certificate should be considered valid.”

An “interoperable certificate of recovery” is also necessary to make sure patients who had COVID-19, but may continue to test positive despite no longer being infectious, aren’t prevented from traveling, the Commission argues. That certificate should not be issued “sooner than twenty days after the first positive test results,” the plan says.

Personal data provided in the certificate would be limited to what is “strictly necessary,” according to the plan, and would include information such as the brand of vaccine taken, as well as the date and place of vaccination.

The pass would ensure a “very high” level of data protection, the text says, adding that only relevant national authorities in the destination country — as well as cross-border transport services — would use the personal data to verify a person’s vaccination, test or recovery status.

The certificate should not require a database at the EU level, it adds.

The plan also aims to clamp down on unreliable or faked test results, which the Commission says “pose a significant risk to public health.”

While COVID tests have been a prerequisite for travel across much of Europe for months, several EU countries have reported incidents of falsified test results, creating a headache for airlines that have been fined for accepting them.

The digital certificate — which would be free of charge — would be made available to EU citizens and their family members, whatever their nationality, as well as non-EU nationals living in an EU country.

The Commission warns that its plan should not be understood as “encouraging” restrictions on free movement countries have put in place in response to the pandemic.

But the plan doesn’t preclude certificate-holders from still facing quarantine or testing restrictions — they could even be denied entry. But the draft does require authorities to alert other EU countries and the Commission to any of these restrictions at least three days before they’re introduced, along with a justification, precise scope and duration.

Source: https://www.politico.eu/article/digital-green-certificate-proposal-leaves-eu-countries-in-the-driving-seat-coronavirus-passport/?fbclid=IwAR1lgV-tumF443aITm4Prb7A5FzBR-x90rb-Im-dno-l9fLziRmX5mkJfRI

For more info: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_1181?fbclid=IwAR3bdXVxf2SOmCcl3jZk-XSExTVCZKGIhrF0Xt_kROxkTbkCAtTZW5ROmcs

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