The European Commission wants EU countries to take the same approach to coronavirus testing and use a single passenger locator form to help coordinate the bloc’s response to the virus.
Recommendations published Wednesday urge national governments to test as “widely as possible,” and prioritize the same groups of people for testing — symptomatic individuals, people who’ve had contact with confirmed cases and severe local outbreaks.
Wednesday’s announcement also places a greater focus on rapid antigen tests, with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen saying they would play a “significant role” in the Continent’s virus response, with the EU itself buying €100 million worth of rapid-result test kits.
The EU will propose a bloc-wide approach to their approval and use, she said, promising more details on the testing strategy in a “couple of weeks.”
The aviation sector has for months called for a common testing regime across Europe as it looks to win back customers put off by quarantines.
In recent weeks several airports and countries announced a roll-out of antigen testing, which is less reliable than the swab PCR test but allows for much quicker results, a factor that von der Leyen acknowledged today.
Filip Cornelis, the Commission’s director for aviation, said Tuesday that air passengers won’t regain confidence in travel until countries agree and enforce a common approach on pre-flight testing.
Von der Leyen also said that although there needed to be restrictions on traveling to the EU, the Commission wants EU countries to “facilitate travel, when necessary” — and in particular “to make it easier for couples and families to reunite.”
The Commission has also been working on an EU-wide passenger locator form, she said, which needs to be digital to avoid countries adopting a “patchwork” approach.