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Will EU drop testing for fully-vaxxed Brits before Easter?

A line of people wait to have their temperature checked at an airport
A line of people wait to have their temperature checked at an airport   -   Copyright  Canva
By Nichola Daunton

Fully-vaccinated UK tourists should be allowed to enter the EU without a COVID-19 test next month, the European Council has announced.

Although the recommendation is not legally binding for EU member states, it suggests that the tide is turning for travel restrictions on the continent.

If taken up, the simplified journeys could start from 1 March.

“The amendments introduced respond to the evolution of the pandemic, the increasing vaccination uptake and administration of booster doses, and the recognition of a growing number of certificates issued by third countries as equivalent to the EU Digital Covid Certificate,” the council said in a statement.

Currently, rules for non-essential travel from the UK vary across Europe. Some countries such as Spain no longer require tests, while Italy, the Netherlands and other nations still need a pre-departure test to be taken.

The European Council stipulates that restrictions should only be lifted if travellers received the last dose of their primary vaccination no more than 270 days ago, unless they’ve received a booster dose.

They also recommend that curbs are lifted for those who have recovered from the virus within 180 days of travel to the EU.

What are the proposed restrictions for children?

The Council suggests that children aged between six and 18 should be allowed to travel if they meet the adult vaccination requirements. But if they do not, they should present a negative PCR test taken up to 72 hours before departure.

As the UK has been slower than many European countries to offer vaccinations to the under 12s, with the jabs only offered from last week (16 February) it is likely that many children will still need to test to travel.

The Director General of ACI Europe, Olivier Jankovec, welcomes the recommendations.

“We now know beyond any doubt that a regime based on travellers’ personal health status is right for individuals, for economies and for societies. There is no evidence to support any other approach.

"As the safe resumption of air connectivity gathers pace, it is vital that Member States implement this recommendation, bringing structure, predictability and harmonisation to the benefit of all. We urge them to do so.”