The President of the European Commission (EC), Urzula von der Leiena, and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, issued the warning after a four-hour video summit with EU heads of government, which focused on the response to the second wave of the pandemic.
The severity of the problem was exacerbated by fears of the spread of more contagious types of coronavirus, which could rapidly increase the rate of infection and cause hospital overcrowding, which is already taking place in the former EU Member State of the United Kingdom.
“We should strongly discourage all non-essential travel, both within the country and, of course, across borders,” von der Leiena told a media conference.
“Additional restrictive measures may be needed to curb non-essential travel, and we are focusing on that,” Michel said.
Von der Leien and Michel added that further coordination would take place in the “coming days”.
However, they also said that the EU wants to avoid the events of the first wave of the pandemic in March, when several EU member states panicked and closed their borders unilaterally, causing travel and economic chaos.
“It is absolutely essential to keep the single market functioning,” so that workers and goods can continue to cross borders, said von der Leiena.
She said the EU was “one epidemiological zone”. “We will only contain the virus if we have targeted measures, not unnecessary measures such as the complete closure of borders that would severely affect our economy, but not a very limited virus.”
EU leaders agreed on the need to step up testing to prevent the closure of the EU’s internal borders in the Schengen area.
From Sunday, everyone who arrives in the EU from elsewhere, which would only be possible for important reasons, has to take a Covid-19 test before leaving, said von der Leiena.
Within the EU, some countries will apply pre-testing to cross-border travel, which does not fall into key categories such as worker travel and freight transport.
France will require a negative PCR test 72 hours before departure from non-essential travelers from many other European countries from Sunday, French President Emanuel Macron told the European Council.
A statement from Macron’s office said that “some of his European colleagues” had also taken this approach.
Source: Diena.lv by www.diena.lv.
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