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EUROPEAN UNION

EU agrees list of accepted Covid rapid antigen tests and says results should be in English

The European Union's health security committee has named the rapid antigen tests it says should be accepted everywhere in the EU, and advised that results should be available in English as well as the local language.

EU agrees list of accepted Covid rapid antigen tests and says results should be in English
An arriving passenger gets tested at Rome's Fiumicino airport. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

It marks an effort to set common standards for testing across Europe at a time when several countries require a negative result before allowing travellers to enter.

“If negative Covid-19 tests are to be required or recommended for any activity, it is essential that they are mutually recognised, and result in certificates recognised across the EU. This is essential, particularly in the context of travel. Our citizens need clarity and predictability,” said the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.

The health security committee on Thursday published a list of 16 rapid antigen tests that it said would be mutually recognized in all member states. 

“Member States agree that Covid-19 test results should be made available in the national language(s) of the country where the test was taken, as well as English,” the committee also said.

That should simplify matters for people travelling not only within the EU but also between Europe and the UK, which currently requires arriving travellers to show a negative test result in either English, French or Spanish, with translations not accepted.

The rule has created headaches for people travelling from Italy and other countries whose national languages aren’t on the UK’s list, and where providers issuing results in English can be hard to track down. 

READ ALSO: Where in Italy can you get Covid-19 test results in English?

All test result certificates should include the same set of information, the EU committee said, namely:

  • Person’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Type of test, including manufacturer and commercial name (for antigen tests)
  • Name of infection tested for (SARS-CoV-2)
  • Result
  • Date and time
  • Testing centre
  • Country
  • Test result issuer

The list of rapid antigen tests accepted for public health measures across the EU will be constantly reviewed and updated, the committee said, especially if certain tests are found to be less effective at detecting new variants of the coronavirus.

Find the current list here.

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TRAVEL NEWS

How Spain’s air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

Many of Spain’s air traffic controllers have been called to strike over the next month. Find out which dates and which airports will be affected.

How Spain's air traffic control strike could hit your travel plans

The workers’ unions USCA and CCOO have called around 162 air traffic controllers working at privatised control towers around the country to organise walkouts throughout February, affecting 28.5 percent of all air traffic in Spain.

The walkouts began on Monday January 30th and will continue every Monday until February 27th during “all work shifts that begin between 00:00 and 24:00,” they stated. Specifically, the strike days will occur on February 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th.

The airports affected by the strike will be A Coruña, Alicante-Elche, Castellón, Cuatro Vientos (Madrid), El Hierro, Fuerteventura, Ibiza, Jerez, Lanzarote, La Palma, Lleida, Murcia, Sabadell, Seville, Valencia and Vigo.

The Ministry of Transport has set minimum services depending on the type of route, which reaches 100 percent for emergency flights, the transfer of citizens or foreigners guarded by police officers and the transport of post and perishable products.  

For commercial flights with routes originating or ending at non-peninsular airports, the minimum services range between 52 percent from Lleida to 84 percent from La Coruña, depending on the estimated occupancy.

In the case of routes between foreign or Spanish cities whose travel time by road is at least five hours, the minimum services will be between 44 percent from La Palma and 57 percent from Alicante.  

For routes that can be replaced by other means of public transport in less than five hours, the minimum guaranteed services will be between 18 percent from Castellón and 30 percent from Vigo.

The workers are asking for a 5.5 percent salary increase but the proposal offered by their employers, which is 2 percent in 2023 and 2.5 percent in 2024, is “very far from their demands”.

The USCA and CCOO unions have decided to call the stoppages due to “the failure of the negotiations” with the Business Association of Civil Air Traffic Providers of the Liberalised Market (APCTA). They finally gave up trying to find a solution after several “unfruitful” meetings.

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