Virus Outbreak Europe Air Travel
FILE - In this May 28, 2020, file photo, a passenger wears personal protective equipment on a Delta Airlines flight after landing in Minneapolis, United States of America. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said Wednesday that from next week onward it is no longer recommending the use of medical masks at airports and on planes due to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

EU lifts mask requirement for air travel as pandemic ebbs


The European Union will no longer require masks to be worn at airports and on planes starting next week amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions across the bloc, authorities said Wednesday.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency said it hoped the joint decision, made with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, would mark “a big step forward in the normalization of air travel" for passengers and crews.

The new guideline “takes account of the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the levels of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity, and the accompanying lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries,” the two agencies said in a joint statement.

“Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them,” EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky said. "And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”

While the new recommendations take effect on May 16, rules for masks may still vary by airline beyond that date if they fly to or from destinations where the rules are different.

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control director Andrea Ammon said washing hands and social distancing should still be practiced, but airport operators are advised not to impose distancing requirements if these are likely to lead to a bottleneck.

The agencies also recommended that airlines keep systems for collecting passenger locator information on standby in case they are needed in future, for example if a new dangerous variant emerges.

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Good. Will Japan be next?...

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Here we go again.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

So scrapping all of the restrictions that kept many people safe since the pandemic began is now seen as a good idea?

I would love for things to return to normal but that will not happen until the variants stop mutating or a vaccine is made effective. In the meantime is it really that hard to wear a mask or social distance?

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

It is now endemic.

No need to impede people from living a full life by now. Anyone is free to wear a mask. That is called respect if you know you are prone to get covid or have (perhaps) some virus infection.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Yeah not really a good idea now is it...

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

 In the meantime is it really that hard to wear a mask or social distance?

Yes. It's a complete waste of time. Wear a mask if it makes you feel better, but it's not really doing you any favours. Just don't try forcing anyone else to wear one against their will when they fly.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

it seems that those who say Covid is endemic are also those who choose not to take any precautions whatsoever. The new variants are already driving a surge in cases with predictions for another very difficult fall and winter. These variants are so different from the original omicron that previous immunity from an infection or vaccine provides little protection.

Here in Japan we’ve had relatively minor restrictions compared to most countries, due to the fact that the general population can follow the advice of experts. Unlike those in western countries who believe wearing masks make them suffocate and demand to live a ‘full life’ in those windows between lockdowns and swamped hospitals.

It may sound like I’m worried but that’s not the case at all. Because I follow simple safety precautions I’ve been able to stay healthy and live well.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

I'm not worried either. I haven't taken any of the covid jabs, only use a mask when forced to, get plenty of exercise and eat healthy. I'm just not the kind of guy who condones forcing people to act against their own will.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

I’m Japan, people have been and still are wearing masks on the streets even during heavy rain.

Its a bit surreal…

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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