Covid certificate obligation in the EU should not apply to truckers, EU Council recommends

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Transport workers should be able to travel freely within the EU with or without a Covid certificate or the need to make covid-tests, the Council of the European Union has recommended. In the event of an emergency and testing requirement being introduced, it should not disrupt the supply chains.

Covid certificate obligation in the EU should not apply to truckers, EU Council recommends
Photo credits @ Wikimedia Commons

The recommendation on a coordinated approach to facilitating safe free movement during the COVID-19 pandemic was published on Tuesday.

Under the new recommendation, COVID-19 measures should be applied taking into account the status of the person instead of the situation at regional level, with the exception of areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels. This means that a traveller’s COVID-19 vaccination, test or recovery status, as evidenced by a valid EU digital COVID certificate, should be the key determinant.

However, transport workers or transport service providers, including drivers and crew of freight vehicles carrying goods for use in the territory, as well as those merely transiting, should not be required to be in the possession of a valid EU Digital COVID Certificate issued pursuant to Regulation (EU) 2021/953, according to the document.

Also, workers and transport service providers should not be required to undergo self-isolation/quarantine or be in the possession of a negative test certificate while exercising their profession.

This exemption should apply even if a driver is not vaccinated and coming from a red zone.

“Particular attention should be paid to areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels, given the increased likelihood of imported cases from these areas, as well as the strain that prolonged periods of high case numbers can put on these areas’ public healthcare systems. To mitigate these public health risks, Member States should advise against all non-essential travel to and from such areas. In addition, persons not in the possession of a vaccination or recovery certificate arriving from such areas should be required to undergo a test for SARS-CoV-2 infection prior to departure as well as undergo post-arrival quarantine/self-isolation. Exceptions for essential travellers, in particular for transport workers and transport service providers, should apply in order to limit the disruption to the internal market and to preserve the functioning of the ‘Green Lanes.”

Emergency brake – transport workers’ testing should not disrupt supply chains

Under the new recommendation, the emergency brake to respond to the emergence of new variants of concern or interest is strengthened.

To preserve the functioning of the ‘Green Lanes’, testing requirements imposed on transport workers and transport service providers should be limited to rapid antigen tests, and no quarantine/self-isolation should be required.

“Such testing requirements should not lead to transport disruptions,” states the document clearly. “Should transport or supply chain disruptions occur, any such systematic testing requirements should lifted or repealed immediately.”

The recommendation will enter into force on 1 February 2022.

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