How ETIAS Will Protect Public Health?

In this article

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.
The ETIAS visa 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?

The ETIAS application 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 Schengen visa 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.
Written by: Fikayomi Abisola
Abisola is an ETIAS Travel and Immigration writer with several years of writing experience in the industry. Abisola has a unique enthusiasm for travels, tours, and tourism and loves to educate travellers about the criteria involved in international travelling.

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