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EU strongly discourages non-essential travel

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-01-22 14:22
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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen speaks during a news conference following a video conference of the members of the European Council on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brussels, Belgium Jan 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

BRUSSELS - European Union (EU) leaders agreed on Thursday to consider further restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus by strongly discouraging non-essential travel between the member states, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

"All non-essential travel should be strongly discouraged both within the country and of course across borders," the EU's executive chief said at a press conference following a video summit of all 27 EU countries.

She added that borders have to remain open for essential workers and that the European single market has to continue functioning without problems.

The leaders also agreed to introduce another color code -- dark red -- to indicate where the virus is circulating at a very high level, according to Von der Leyen.

She also stressed the need to accelerate vaccination, insisting that the summer deadline for the inoculation of at least 70 percent of the adult population was "doable".

She said the EU is working closely with the European Medicines Agency and vaccine producers to "provide more predictability and stability" of the delivery process.

Noting "it is our interest to share early enough vaccines with other regions of the world", the EU leader said she had suggested a mechanism to share access to some EU vaccines.

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