The EU can’t count on immunity certification when lifting border restrictions within the bloc, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told health ministers on Monday.
“[Citizens] deserve a break, a breath of fresh air, a chance to travel and to visit family and friends,” Kyriakides said, according to a readout of the call. “We must make sure that they can do so safely.”
But immunity certification isn’t reliable, she said, emphasizing instead prevention measures like maintaining physical distancing; developing “robust” testing strategies; and ensuring sufficient health care capacity in EU countries — especially those that are tourist destinations.
Contact tracing, including contact tracing apps, are also important, Kyriakides said, but noted they must be interoperable so that people can be warned of an infection wherever they are, with whatever app they are using.
She also emphasized that easing travel restrictions should be first done by coordinating between regions in similar and “positively evolving” epidemiological situations, and welcomed the Baltic nations’ initiative to restart travel in a three-country bubble.
“I urge you all to monitor the situation as you ease restrictions and keep other member states informed of any epidemiological developments,” she said.
She encouraged countries to share their data with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which has been an issue. The ECDC was lacking national data to create an interactive map detailing the level of coronavirus transmission inside EU countries earlier this month, when the Commission published its guidelines on reopening internal borders.
Paola Tamma contributed reporting.