International travellers entering the EU will have to comply with stricter rules to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus. The new safety measures have been proposed by the European Commission in response to the spread of new variants of the coronavirus and a health situation which is still very unstable worldwide. The Commission has urged the use of updated criteria as regards the test rate carried out, the test positivity rate and the identification of concerning variants. Once adopted by the Council, it will be for the Member States to implement the additional security measures envisaged and to review the list of third countries against which restrictions should be lifted in the light of the updated criteria. Measures concerning those who arrive in the EU for essential reasons, EU citizens themselves, long-term EU residents and their family members, and travellers from countries in respect of which the restriction on non-essential travel has been lifted. When considering lifting the restriction on non-essential travel to the EU from a third country, the following criteria should apply, based on the most recent scientific advice:
- a cumulative rate of COVID-19 cases recorded in the last 14 days (that is, the total number of new COVID-19 cases recorded per 100 000 inhabitants in the previous 14 days at regional level) of not more than 25;
- a test rate (that is, the number of tests for COVID-19 infection carried out per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous seven days) of more than 300;
- a positive test rate (that is to say, the percentage of positive tests among all tests for COVID-19 infection carried out during the previous seven days) of not more than 14%;
- the nature of the virus present in the country, in particular whether concerning variants of the virus have been identified.