EU Air Travel: Masks no longer required from May 16th

EU AIR TRAVEL: MASKS NO LONGER REQUIRED FROM MAY 16THThe European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) have announced today that from Monday 16th May they will no longer recommend mandatory masks in airports and on European flights.

A joint statement issued today regarding air travel in the European Union (EU) indicates that the EASA and ECDC will "withdraw the recommendation for mandatory use of medical masks at airports and on board flights". The statement also however reiterated that "a face mask continues to be one of the best protections against the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, especially for the most vulnerable people."

The update comes at a time when face masks are no longer mandatory in many EU member states and some airlines no longer require it.

"The update of the Joint Protocol on Aviation Health Security takes into account the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the lifting of restrictions on a growing number of European countries," the EU agency said.

Still, the rules on masks will continue to vary by airline beyond that date, so these European agencies point out that on flights to or from a destination where the use of masks is still necessary on public transport, the use of masks should be continued, in accordance with the recommendations.

The EASA and ECDC advocated that vulnerable passengers must also continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, specifying that in such cases, a FFP2 / N95 / KN95 mask must be worn, "which provide a higher level of protection than that a standard surgical mask ”.

Quoted in the press release, EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky points out that, "starting next week, face masks will no longer be mandatory on air travel in all cases, in line with the new requirements of the national authorities throughout Europe in the field of public transport ”.

"For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel," said Patrick Ky, urging passengers to behave "responsibly and respect the choices of others around them."

ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said that "while the risks remain, non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines will allow lives to return to normal." 

Still, Andrea Ammon points out that "it is important to keep in mind that, along with physical distancing and good hand hygiene, the use of a mask is one of the best ways to reduce transmission."

According to ECDC, about 325 million people in the EU are fully vaccinated against covid-19 and close to 230 million have received a booster dose.

 Source Lusa

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