Czech Foreign Ministry to unify COVID-19 travel risk map with new EU standard

The new EU traffic light map would allow for unrestricted travel between safe countries, though many countries would currently be high-risk

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 03.11.2020 15:11 (updated on 03.11.2020)

Prague, Nov 3 (CTK) - The Czech Foreign Ministry has proposed that the Czech Republic adopt the EU's criteria for assessing COVID-19 infection risk in individual countries as of November 9 so that the travel traffic light system is unified across the EU.

According to the risk levels, the system will assesses countries on a scale of colors from green to red. Based on the planned rules, citizens from "green" states would not face movement restrictions anywhere in the EU.

"The Czech Republic will change its travel traffic light map in accordance with the EU's recommendation. This is the first step towards a single set of criteria for assessing countries' safety in terms of the spread of COVID-19," the ministry wrote.

It said the recommendation from the Council of the EU has already been adopted by countries such as France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovenia, Denmark and Finland.

Based on the proposed criteria, a country will gain the green color if it has conducted enough coronavirus tests (300 tests per 100,000 people per day), saw fewer than 25 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past two weeks, and if its share of positive cases among the tested samples drops below 4 percent.

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Travelers from green states will be able to enter the Czech Republic without restriction under the new proposal.

Infection risk will be considered medium in countries where the share of positive tests is above 4 percent and the number of new coronavirus cases is below 250 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks.

Travelers from medium-risk countries coming to the Czech Republic will only need to provide a negative COVID-19 if they are foreign workers, with an exemption for cross-border commuters.

Countries will be considered high risk if they report a ratio of positive tests over 4 percent, and more than 250 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past two weeks.

Foreigners as well as Czechs arriving from red countries will have to undergo a COVID-19 test or quarantine themselves when entering the Czech Republic.

As the Czech Republic would also currently be red in the new EU map, those traveling from the Czech Republic to other EU states that have adopted the map would also be subject to quarantine or a negative COVID-19 test.

The adoption of the EU criteria will profoundly change the current national traveler map, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček has written.

"At present, only Spain is red [on the Czech traffic light map], but this no longer corresponds with the present situation. Most EU states would newly turn red, as it is not only the Czech Republic where the pandemic has been developing unfavorably," Petříček wrote.

EU member states are to also grant exceptions to groups such as people commuting across the border to work, students, and international transport staff.

Based on a mid-October agreement among EU ministers, member countries can still choose whether to require travelers to submit to a COVID-19 test on arrival, or accept results of tests made abroad.

The length of quarantine, too, is up to individual countries. It ranges between one and two weeks at present.

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