How ETIAS Will Protect Public Health?
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU had been reviewing ways to improve the
protection of the EU public health and the ETIAS had been in the pipeline
for some time to play a role in this.
waiver program is to be introduced at the end of 2022 and it will
allow the EU to monitor health risks posed by travellers who would previously
not have been pre-screened before entering the EU.
How ETIAS checks the health of travelers?
form has several different sections that travelers must complete and
one of the sections is a list of questions related to public health. The questions include
whether you have any medical conditions, infectious or contagious parasite diseases.
When you complete the online form, pay the application fee and submit it, the next
step is for the data to be screened against several databases. This process happens
automatically, checking against security and health databases to confirm whether
the questions have been answered truthfully.
If there is a flag on one of the questions, the ETIAS will usually be declined,
as the traveler is deemed to be a high risk traveler, based on one or more of the questions.
If the ETIAS application is declined, the traveler will not be able to visit the EU.
In some cases, the traveler may be able to obtain a
instead, by providing more
information that would prove that they are not a high risk traveler.
Could ETIAS have prevented the spread of COVID-19?
It is hard to say whether the introduction of the ETIAS system at an earlier
date would have prevented the spread of COVID-19 across Europe, as this health
information was not readily available regarding COVID-19 at the very start of the pandemic.
However, there have been many lessons learned about the measures that are required to
prevent diseases such as COVID-19 from spreading into countries. Countries who quickly
introduced travel restrictions and imposed lockdowns, even when there were low numbers of
COVID cases, have managed to control infection rates much better than the countries that
were very late to put travel restrictions in place.
If ETIAS had been introduced earlier, health data could have been screened to monitor
visitors coming into Europe better. With COVID-19 expected to be in circulation around the
world for years to come, having a system like the ETIAS will be able to reduce the
likelihood of cases being brought into Europe in future, as well as providing
enhanced terrorist security.
Technology is also being introduced to help to identify people who have COVID-19,
which could soon be used at borders to help prevent travelers with COVID-19 from
entering the country. So, ETIAS, in collaboration with emerging new technologies,
will certainly be able to play a large part in reducing the spread of COVID-19.
With Europe now seeing large numbers of cases of the Delta variant that originated
in India, this is a clear indication that stronger measures are required to prevent
new variants from entering the Schengen Zone and the ETIAS system will be one
of these measures when it launches at the end of 2022.