EU proposes 'dark red' COVID-19 zones with stricter travel restrictions


European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen addresses European lawmakers during a plenary session on the inauguration of the new President of the United States and the current political situation, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, January 20, 2021. Francisco Seco/Pool via REUTERS

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Hotspots of COVID-19 infections in the European Union will be labelled "dark red" zones, and travellers from those areas will be required to take a test before departure and undergo quarantine, the chief of the bloc's executive said on Thursday.

"A dark red zone would show that in this zone, the virus is circulating at a very high level," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told a news conference after a meeting of EU leaders.

"Persons travelling from dark red areas could be required to do a test before departure, as well as to undergo quarantine after arrival."

This system would apply to travel within the EU, she said.

Von der Leyen said that with infections rising and contagious variants of the virus spreading fast, non-essential travel should be "strongly discouraged" within the EU but essential workers and goods must be able to cross borders smoothly.

(... by John Chalmers)

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