Europe's stalled plan for common travel rules and maps has started up again, with the 27 members of the EU agreeing Tuesday to share data and use the same color maps to indicate different levels of virus threat.
There's a wrinkle, though: Although the common criteria will allow travelers and governments to know at a glance what the situation is, the agreement only covers data and maps; the countries are still free to make whatever rules they wish about crossing borders and quarantine.
That means that one country may allow travelers from an orange area to cross without quarantine, while another may allow that privilege only for green. As of now, no country in Europe qualifies for green.
Still, it is a start, and may make it easier to move toward more common rules, at least between neighbors. The countries will submit their data to the European Center for Disease Control weekly, and ECDC will supply the map data. The colors will be assigned based on a number of combinations of rate of new infections and test positivity rate. Here are the definitions:
- New confirmed infections in the last 14 days is below 25 per 100,000 inhabitants, and the test positivity rate is below 4%.
- New confirmed infections below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants, but the test positivity rate is 4% or above, or
- New confirmed infections between 25 and 150 per 100,000, but the test positivity rate is below 4%.
- New confirmed infections 50 or more per 100,000 inhabitants, and the percentage of positive tests is 4% or above.