BRUSSELS — The European Union agreed Wednesday to reopen its borders to visitors who have been fully vaccinated with an approved shot and to those coming from a list of countries considered safe from a coronavirus perspective, permitting broader travel just in time for the summer tourism season.
Ambassadors from the 27 EU member states endorsed a plan that would allow visits from tourists and other nonessential travelers, who have been mostly barred from entering the bloc for more than a year.
The move has been seen as an economic imperative for tourism-dependent countries such as Greece and Spain.
The new rules are set to become formal policy next week after clearing some bureaucratic hurdles, and, depending on how well each country has prepared to welcome tourists, could be implemented immediately. Some countries, like Greece, have already said that they will remove testing and quarantine requirements for vaccinated visitors. But most countries are likely to implement such changes more slowly and conservatively.
Under the EU plan, the bloc would accept visitors who have completed their immunization at least two weeks before their arrival, using one of the shots approved by its own regulator or by the World Health Organization. That covers the vaccines from AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm, according to a draft of the rules seen by The New York Times.
Travelers who have not been vaccinated but who are coming from a list of safe countries would also be allowed to visit for nonessential reasons, such as leisure and business. The draft of the criteria seen by The Times indicated that the list would include nations whose “COVID notification rate” — or the number of new cases recorded over the previous 14 days per 100,000 people — is below 75. Travelers from those nations could still be required to show a negative PCR test.
The draft document of the rules indicated that children would not be required to be vaccinated when traveling with vaccinated parents but that they might be asked to show a negative PCR test conducted no more than 72 hours before arrival.
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