The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has updated the weekly maps in support of a coordinated approach to travel measures in the EU, based on the new recommendation of the EU Commission, by taking into account the vaccine rates in each region.
So far, the maps have been updated by taking into account the 14-day COVID-19 notification rate per 100,000 population and test positivity in each area. However, since February 1, the vaccination update of the region is also taken into account.
“in the [new] maps, EU/EEA Member States are classified according to an indicator which is based on the 14-day notification rate, weighted by the vaccine uptake of the region,” the ECDC notes updating the maps on February 3.
The EU and Schengen countries continue to be colored in green, orange, red, and dark red, while the formula for the indicator is – Weighted rate = (C+C*(100-V)/100)/2. The C stands for the notification rate, while the V stands for the vaccine uptake.
Thus, according to the formula, in green are colored the regions with a weighted rate under 40, in orange, those between 40 and 100, whereas in red those with a weighted rate between 100 and 300. Countries in which the weighted rate is 300 or more are colored in dark red.
As per third countries for which the testing rate is 600 or less, they are colored in dark grey, and the regions for which insufficient data is available are marked in grey.
Whole of Europe Colored in Dark Red in Spite of High Vaccination Rates
According to a recommendation of the EU Council published on January 25, all EU Member States should now impose travel restrictions according to the traveller’s vaccination status instead of basing their restrictions only on the country of departure.
The recommendation guides the Member States to permit restriction-free entry for those traveling with an EU Digital COVID-19 Certificate, which are held by those vaccinated against COVID-19, those who have recovered from the virus, as well as those who test negative before their trip, by dropping additional requirements as more testing and quarantine obligation.
Yet, the Council noted that such restrictions might be imposed on travelers arriving from dark red areas in the EU and Schengen countries.
“Based on this map, member states should apply measures regarding travel to and from dark red areas, where the virus is circulating at very high levels. They should, in particular, discourage all non-essential travel and require persons arriving from those areas, who are not in possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate to undergo a test prior to departure and to quarantine after arrival,” the Council notes.
Though Council’s intention is to facilitate travel throughout the block, due to the high COVID-19 rates, such a thing is not possible. The updated maps of the ECDC show that all of Europe is marked in dark red without any exceptions.
This means that the facilitation of travel rules based on the recommendation of January 25 is not possible.
Yet, in spite of the high COVID-19 number reported throughout the bloc, several Member States have already facilitated travel restrictions, asserting that measures such as border controls, testing and quarantine have not helped in the prevention of the COVID-19 spread. Other countries have removed the restrictions claiming that the virus is no longer severe.