If Covid-19 rates in the UK continue to rise the country could face being locked out of the continent from January as EU countries look to standardise their approach to fighting the pandemic.
Brits could be forced to quarantine or take Covid-19 tests when travelling to EU countries, and in a ‘worst case’ scenario might even be banned from Europe as a whole if infections continue to rise. As the UK leaves the EU at the end of December, the commission has no legal reason to discuss the proposed measures with Boris Johnson’s government.
The European Commission and member states are understood to want a standardised ‘red to green’ colour system of country Covid levels, as well as infection rate thresholds at which to enforce a local lockdown. The plans they are discussing, however, do not involve the UK, which will be treated as a non-EU country when the Brexit transition period ends on December 31.
A Commission spokesman said yesterday that “European challenges require European co-ordination,” before adding that the plans were ‘welcomed’ by national diplomats. The Commission explains the aim is for countries to have ‘common criteria’ on which to base future decisions about lockdowns, with individual governments still deciding travel restrictions internationally.
One EU diplomat described the commission plans as ‘laudable’ and said there would be increased coordination and communication between member states after border restrictions were reintroduced in the passport-free Schengen Zone at the height of the crisis. “Member states are clear they consider the assessment of risk and decision on restrictions will remain their own.”
It is understood that the Commission wants member states to judge other countries handling of the pandemic on:
- The number of new Coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the last two weeks prior to the evaluation
- Share of positive tests from the total of tests carried out in a seven-day period
- Number of Covid-19 tests carried out per every 100 000 people during a seven-day period
There have been at least 352,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom, according to Public Health England. As of Wednesday morning, 41,586 people had died. The government changed its methodology for counting Covid-19 deaths on August 12, lowering the overall death toll by more than 5,000.
Every week, the Office for National Statistics also produces a report on the number of deaths registered in the UK that mention Covid-19 on a death certificate. This figure, which includes deaths outside of hospitals, is higher than the reported daily death toll.