The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) have issued a new version of the Aviation Health Safety Protocol providing clear operational guidance and risk-based recommendations for health-safe air travel to complement the European Union’s key initiatives, such as the EU Digital COVID Certificates.
The new version of the document, published on the ECDC's website, takes into account new evidence and information such as the circulation of variants of concern (VOCs) and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination programmes.
The new version also emphasises the need to keep non-pharmaceutical measures in place – such as the wearing of medical face masks, hygiene measures and physical distancing, said the statement from ECDC.
It is intended to provide support to national authorities in the member states and to aviation stakeholders and is based on the latest scientific evidence, epidemiological situation and policy developments, it added.
In line with current scientific evidence and the European Council recommendation, the Protocol proposes that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or who recovered from the disease in the last 180 days should not be subject to testing or quarantine, unless they are coming from an area of very high risk or where a Variant of Concern is circulating.
Also, the use of Passenger Locator Forms to facilitate contact tracing is still considered very important.
In addition, physical distancing of at least one metre must be maintained and medical masks must be worn at all stages of the journey, it stated.
Hand and respiratory hygiene measures also need to be observed. All these measures are recommended for EU air travel, but also for air travel to and from third countries, it added.
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