Preparing for winter: European Commission’s proposal to avoid new surge of Covid-19 cases

On 2 September 2022, the European Commission published a Communication on the “EU’s response to COVID-19: preparing for autumn and winter 2023” (COM 2022 (452 final). The objective is to propose, measures to avoid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the upcoming autumn and winter season.

In particular, the Commission recommends that the Member States improve the vaccine uptake of the primary vaccination course and prioritise the administration of an additional booster dose for specific population groups.

HOTREC fully supports the preventive approach of the Commission and welcomes its position on travel-related issues and welcomes the Commission’s objective of enjoying unrestricted freedom of movement if the epidemiological situation allows. Travel restrictions should only be introduced where they are absolutely necessary and proportionate for the protection of public health. For example, measures such as mask-wearing should be considered before introducing travel restrictions.

We also support the Commission’s proposal to encourage Member States to use the EU Digital COVID Certificate if necessary; eliminate the ECDC colour-coded country categorisation; adopt a full person-based approach; and revise the list of countries whose nationals would face temporary restrictions to enter the EU.

We fully believe that preventive measures should be planned and applied as early as possible, as well as lessons learned, so that seamless travel can prevail across the EU.

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