Europe opens the door for vaccinated people to stop wearing masks.
THE European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has proposed that the time for mandatory mask-wearing to come to an end may soon be upon us. A statement released this week by Andrea Ammon, the director of the ECDC, suggests that people that have received both doses of the Covid vaccine could forgo the face shield and not have to abide by social distancing rules when in company, provided they are not around anyone who falls into an at-risk category.
“As vaccination progresses, immunisation can slowly allow relaxation of mask uses and physical distancing. Although relaxation of protective measures should be done gradually and based on a careful assessment of the risks involved, we trust that the increase in vaccination coverage will have a positive and direct impact on the return to normal life,” the statement read, as reported by Spanish news outlet El Periodico.
Ms Ammon did add a serious caveat to her suggestion, however: younger and middle-aged people who have been fully inoculated against coronavirus would only be exempt from mask-wearing and social distancing regulations in social situations “as long as none of those present has a risk factor for serious disease.”
One EWN reader, in his late-30s, has mixed feelings about the proposal:
“Wearing a mask has become second nature now,” he said. “While I’m not looking forward to another Spanish summer wearing a mask in the heat, I think we can put up with them for another little while until 70 per cent of people are vaccinated.”
A happy medium which the ECDC may have hit on is the relaxing of these restrictions in groups where all members have been fully vaccinated, even if they are in the older age bracket. Another option may be to scrap mask-wearing in social bubbles.
While still just a proposal and by no means guaranteed, the experts have given further hope to travel this summer by suggesting that, “in some situations,” quarantine requirements and PCR testing for holidaymakers could be “waived or adjusted” for people who have had both Covid jabs.
Meanwhile, fresh hope has emerged this week for sun-seeking Brits and the top holiday destinations of Spain, Portugal and Greece as a senior EU official said that the UK will “certainly” be one of the first countries welcomed by European countries due to its rapid vaccine rollout scheme and its plan to introduce a Covid passport as early as June.