The ministers of the European Union, during the meeting held on Tuesday, accepted the proposal of the European Commission to make changes in the criteria for the use of the COVID-19 certificate for travel within the European bloc.
This certificate was introduced in the spring of last year in order to facilitate movement within the EU at the time when the vaccination process against COVID-19 had started.
But now the circumstances have changed and the EU has recommended changing the criteria for using this certificate. Now more will be taken into account the health status of the person, data on vaccination or cure from the virus, than the epidemiological situation of the state or region from which he comes.
Under the new recommendations, the COVID-19 certificate will be valid if it contains data that its carrier is vaccinated with at least two doses. This certificate is valid for nine months from the receipt of the second dose of the vaccine, while for persons who are vaccinated with the booster dose, the validity of the certificate will be unlimited, at least until there is no new scientific data indicating the duration of protection that this dose offers.
Certificates proving that their carriers passed the virus no later than six months ago will also be valid. For holders of these certificates, the EU has proposed that there be no additional restrictions or obligations for testing or self-isolation.
At a time when EU countries are recording record numbers of infections due to the spread of the Omicron variant, however, the European bloc suggests travel concessions given the success that some countries have achieved with their citizens' vaccination campaign.
However, there are big differences between EU countries in terms of the level of vaccination. In Belgium, for example, more than 70 percent of adult citizens have received the booster dose, while in Bulgaria and Romania half of the population is still unvaccinated.
These are only EU recommendations, as each member state will decide on their implementation in their respective countries. The EU said it hopes members will implement these recommendations in order to facilitate the movement of citizens.