Photo: EUROPEAN UNION/EP

EU agrees to “do away with tests and quarantines for citizens with Covid Digital Certificates”

Even though it is well-accepted now that the fully-jabbed (and boosted) can transmit the virus, and become infected, Member States of the EU today have “agreed that anyone with a valid Covid Digital Certificate (showing them to be vaccinated or recovered) can travel without the need to take tests or go into quarantine”.

At least this is how the development is being reported in the Portuguese media. (There is a wrinkle in the terminology further down in the reports.)

The news is just another quirk in the series of ‘nonsensical developments’ that have marked the progress of the pandemic.

Weeks ago, the World Health Organisation admitted that Omicron was being powered by ‘healthy, young, fully-vaccinated populations’ (click here), yet today’s decision has been justified in the name of “aiding secure free circulation”.

Stories in the media do not refer to the fact that it is clear that countries with high rates of vaccination are also countries with massively high numbers of new cases. They simply repeat the statement coming out of Brussels: “The Council today adopted a recommendation on a coordinated approach to facilitate secure free circulation during the pandemic”.

According to the new rules (the coordinated approach has thus morphed neatly into the pan-European ‘rulebook’), “the measures relating to Covid-19 should be applied bearing in mind the statute of the person and not the regional situation, with exception to areas where the virus is circulating at very high levels.”

In practice, says Lusa, “this means that vaccination, a test or state of recovery from Covid-19 in a traveller, evidenced by a valid Covid Certificate should be the fundamental determinant” for said traveller to be allowed presumably to board a plane.

This is where it becomes very clear how much the Covid Digital Certificate is being made a prerequisite of air travel – even though a) it does not assure safety (specifically in the case of fully-jabbed holders) and b) it does not do away with testing.

What the decision does do is ensure that  passengers have to ‘sign up’ for a Covid Digital Certificate, even if they have chosen not to be vaccinated. (The certificates continue to have a section for people travelling solely on tests, ie. tests are not being done away with, but people who opt to travel using them are not being given the freedom to do so without entering the pan-European digital Covid system).

ANOTHER DAY WITH OVER 50,000 NEW CASES

Meantime, today’s Covid bulletin shows yet another day where Portugal, with its over 90% vaxxed population, is registering new cases of infection exceeding the 50,000-mark.

Hopes that the current wave should have peaked by now have been adjusted, with forecasters and specialists explaining the return of schools and the election campaign have messed with calculations.

It is now thought that the ‘peak’ will come sometime in the second week of February.

Good news today however has been a fall in numbers being admitted to hospitals, and a large number of ‘infected’ people having ‘recovered’ (over 54,000).

To see the bulletin in full click here.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com