Travelling may soon become easier and less struggling, in spite of the increasing number of COVID-19 cases across Europe, and in particular of the Omicron variant cases.
Data by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that only in the last seven days, France has recorded almost two million new COVID-19 cases (1,854,631), Italy 1,158,234, Spain 690,129, and Germany 342,973.
The new COVID-19 variant, which was detected in late November last year, is more transmissible than others. Due to this, the WHO has warned that half of Europe will be infected with the Omicron virus variant within the next two months.
Yet, the variant that seemed quite scary at the beginning turned out to be a milder version of the virus, with those catching it experiencing less severe symptoms and ending up hospitalized less often compared to those with other COVID-19 versions.
As a result, many world countries, including European Union Member States, are considering treating the Coronavirus like the flu. According to Bloomberg, Spain has been the first EU country to suggest people start getting used to living with COVID-19, calling on the rest of the Member States to start treating the virus as an endemic disease.
“We have to evaluate the evolution of Covid from pandemic to an endemic illness,” the country’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said in a radio interview on January 10.
According to experts at SchengenVisaInfo.com, similar approaches as Spain’s may soon be taken by other EU countries, as a large share of the Member States have recently facilitated travel restrictions by shortening quarantine periods, in spite of the spread of Omicron.
For example, Estonia has shortened its quarantine obligation from ten to seven days.
Similarly, Iceland has also shortened the quarantine period to seven days. Previously, the country had a ten-day quarantine requirement for those who contracted the virus. The decision was taken after the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that they would shorten the quarantine period to five days for US citizens.
At the same time, quarantine in Slovenia can now be ended on the fifth day, after taking a COVID-19 test, the results of which are negative. Before January 10, the test could be taken only on the seventh day.
While shortening quarantine duration, the EU countries have also shortened the validity of vaccination certificates in a bid to push more people to get booster vaccines, as the effect of primary vaccination has turned out to wane over time.
>> All You Need to Know About COVID-19 Vaccination Passports’ New Validity Rules for EU Travel