COVID-19: Mandatory wearing of face masks in airports and on European flights ‘no longer recommended’ | World News


Wearing face masks at airports and on European flights is “no longer recommended”, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has said.

This decision, announced by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the ECDC, should come into force on May 16.

EASA said it hoped the decision would mark “a big step forward in the standardization of air transport”.

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The two authorities informed travelers that, despite the lifting of the rule, face masks remain “one of the best protections” against COVID-19[feminine].

Vulnerable passengers have been advised that they should continue to wear a mask and people will be asked to observe social distancing in interior areas.

However, airport operators have been advised not to impose distancing measures if they are likely to cause a bottleneck, ECDC director Andrea Ammon said.

Once the rule is dropped by EASA and ECDC, individual airlines will continue to be able to implement their own requirements.

Airlines have been asked to encourage passengers to use masks on flights to or from destinations where mandatory mask-wearing on public transport is still enforced.

They have also been advised to keep passenger location information collection systems on standby in case they are needed in the future, for example if a “new variant of concern” emerges.

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“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the
the evolving requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky.

“It is a relief for all of us that we are finally reaching a stage in the pandemic where we can begin to ease health security measures.”

Italy, France, Bulgaria and other European countries have relaxed or ended many of their COVID measures and a number of US airlines have already dropped the face mask requirement.

What are the COVID rules for traveling to the UK?

In the UK, passengers are advised to check with their tour operator to see if COVID-19 rules are in place.

The Department for Transport and the Department of Health say people should also follow all coronavirus restrictions and advice from their place of transport.

People are also no longer required to complete a UK Passenger Locator Form before traveling or take a COVID test when leaving or entering the country.

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