Europe Now At Highest Level, As Per ECDC

The EU adopted a joint traffic light approach on 13 October to monitor the spread of Covid-19 through European countries. It was hoped that the maps (colored red for highest and green for lowest) would put an end to the confusion of each country defining its own travel rules–by using a joint map, travel possibilities could be easily defined by restricting visitors coming from a country with high infection rates (or red on the map). The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) creates the maps with data provided by each member state.

As of 5 November, all EU countries are now red (or dark blue on the color-blind map, which uses just blues), except Finland and part of Greece, which is yellow. Norway, which is not part of the EU but has economic access to it as part of the EEA, the European Economic Area, is also yellow.

The situation was much better last week for many countries, as noted by schengen visa info, as many have now moved from orange to red (half of Denmark was orange, as was the whole of Estonia). What’s more, Finland and Norway, who are faring better than most this week and coded yellow, were doing much better last week, when both were mostly green.

The EU uses something called the Common Framework for Travel which says that travel from countries in the red should not be banned. Instead, quarantine can be applied and negative Covid-19 tests demanded as a prerequisite for entry. The same exceptions to entry apply across all countries–essential health workers or freight drivers, for instance, are allowed to travel across EU+ borders.

Many EU countries are implementing greater travel restrictions throughout November. Some countries, such as Bulgaria, Spain and Hungary, are still allowing free entry to other EU+ countries but many countries are now requiring proof of a negative Covid-19 test, 72 hours before arrival, such as Denmark.

Norway is asking visitors from almost every country (EU or otherwise) to quarantine and Finland will require both quarantine and negative Covid-19 tests from 23 November onwards.

The maps measure three things:

  • the notification rate (the total number of newly notified Covid-19 cases per 100 000 population in the last 14 days at regional level);
  • the test positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among all tests for Covid-19 infection carried out during the last week); and
  • the testing rate (the number of tests for Covid-19 infection per 100 000 population carried out during the last week).

A country is red if the 14-day notification rate is at 50 cases per 100,000 or higher and the test positivity rate is 4% or higher or if the 14-day notification rate is higher than 150 cases per 100 000.

There are no legal requirements for EU countries to follow Europe-wide advice; a country can decide to implement its own travel restrictions–for example, Croatia continues to allow U.S. visitors to visit, in direct contrast to most other EU countries, which have mostly closed borders from countries outside the bloc.

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