EU implements new traffic light system, airlines call it a failure

Oct 23, 2020 Impacting Travel

EU implements new traffic light system, airlines call it a failure

European Union (EU) member countries today agreed to adopt Europe’s new COVID-19 ‘traffic light’ classification system for cross-border travel. The proposal was approved during a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council, but the agreement is not binding and many of the minutiae are left up to member states to determine, reported.

Under the new system, countries will be individually classified as ‘green’, ‘orange’ or ‘red’ based on their test positivity rates, calculated on an average 14-day number of COVID-19 cases for each 100,000 residents. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) will be tasked with publishing a weekly map that reflects the current color-coded state of member countries.


Green = Cumulative 14-day case rate of less than 25 per 100,000 people and test positivity rates below four percent.

orange = Either: 14-day case rate of less than 50 per 100,000 people with test positivity rates of four percent or more OR, 14-day case rate of 25 to 50 cases per 100,000 with test positivity rates of less than four percent.

Red = Either: 14-day case rate of more than 50 per 100,000 with positive test rates of four percent or more OR, 14-day case rate of more than 150 per 100,000 with test rates positives of less than four percent.

Being a trend now

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

In a corresponding statement, the European Commission said: “We have learned our lessons: we will not overcome the crisis by closing borders unilaterally, but by working together.” He continued: “We now ask the Member States to ensure that the necessary data is provided so that the map can be updated weekly with accurate information on the epidemiological situation in the EU and its regions.”

The Council stipulated that member countries should not restrict the free movement of EU citizens traveling to or from ‘green’ countries, but will allow them to individually determine what kind of restrictions to impose on travelers from ‘orange’ and ‘red’.

“While Member States can still decide what restrictive measures they apply, such as quarantine or testing, we ask Member States to ensure that citizens receive clear and timely information on what to do and what restrictions are in place, depending on the agreement today. Member States also agreed on mutual recognition of the tests, and we will continue to work with them to better coordinate the tests and quarantine requirements. “

Critics say the new system does little to solve the challenges posed by the patchwork of border restrictions currently in place in Europe. A joint statement issued by aviation bodies Airports Council International (ACI) Europe, Airlines for Europe (A4E) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the Council for its “failure” to recommend coordinated testing regimes to replace the quarantines. The statement said that this “effectively means that the borders remain closed” and continues to endanger millions of travel and tourism jobs.

“The inability of the Council to go beyond superficial coordination and establish a truly harmonized and workable framework is now beyond question,” the shared statement said. Representative organizations from the airline industry also argued that the new traffic light system does not offer travelers more certainty than before, as member countries only need to publish information about the new restrictions 24 hours in advance.

While widespread calls for the adoption of coordinated rapid COVID-19 testing requirements continue and the European Commission is working on developing an EU ride-sharing testing protocol, there have been no new developments on that front.