Face mask regulations on planes will change in the EU as face coverings are no longer mandatory on flights or airports
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Wearing masks on flights will soon be a thing of the past, according to a new recommendation from flight safety experts.
The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) today issued an update on health security measures for air travel, dropping the recommendation to make medical masks compulsory at airports and on board a flight calmly. It should be noted that a face mask is still one of the best protective measures against the transmission of COVID-19.
The update of the joint Aviation Health Safety Protocol takes into account the latest developments in the pandemic, in particular the level of vaccination and naturally acquired immunity and the concomitant lifting of restrictions in a growing number of European countries. In addition to the changes to masks, the recommendations also include relaxing the tightened measures in flight operations, which will help to relieve the industry while maintaining appropriate measures.
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“Starting next week, face masks will no longer have to be mandatory in all cases when traveling by air, largely in line with changing public transport requirements from national authorities across Europe,” said EASA Executive Director Patrick Ky.
“For passengers and flight crew, this is a major step forward in normalizing air travel. However, passengers should behave responsibly and respect the decisions of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask to reassure those sitting nearby.”
ECDC Director Andrea Ammon said: “The evolution and ongoing updates of the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have provided travelers and flight crew with a better understanding of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. Although risks remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to gradually return to normal. Although mandatory mask wearing is no longer recommended in all situations, it is important to remember that this, along with physical distancing and good hand hygiene, is one of the best ways to reduce transmission.
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“The rules and requirements of the countries of departure and destination should be respected and applied consistently, and tour operators should take care to inform passengers in a timely manner of any measures required to ensure safety, and the ECDC will continue to work with our colleagues at EASA to develop the recommendations.” to be regularly evaluated and amended if necessary.”
The new recommendations for wearing face masks are scheduled to take effect from May 16, 2022. However, the rules, especially for masks, will vary depending on the airline after this date. For example, flights to or from a destination where mask-wearing is still required on public transport should continue to encourage mask-wearing, according to the recommendations. Vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask, regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.
Passengers are also urged to practice social distancing indoors, including at the airport, where possible. However, airport operators should proceed pragmatically here: For example, distance requirements should be avoided if they are likely to lead to bottlenecks in passenger traffic elsewhere, especially if they are not prescribed elsewhere at national or regional level.
“While many states no longer require passengers to submit data through a passenger tracking form, airlines should keep their data collection systems on standby so they can provide that information to health authorities if needed, such as in the event that a new variant of Concerns (VOC) have surfaced that have been identified as potentially more hazardous,” the agencies said.
“New VOCs are often discovered with varying degrees of immunity escape and symptom severity, the document noted. Airport personnel, crew members and passengers should be vigilant and follow the recommendations and requirements of the national authorities of the state or region they are visiting. “
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/news/eu-scrap-face-masks-planes-26935160 The EU wants to get rid of face masks on planes and airports from next week