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EU agrees list of accepted Covid rapid antigen tests and says results should be in English

The European Union's health security committee has named the rapid antigen tests it says should be accepted everywhere in the EU, and advised that results should be available in English as well as the local language.

EU agrees list of accepted Covid rapid antigen tests and says results should be in English
An arriving passenger gets tested at Rome's Fiumicino airport. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

It marks an effort to set common standards for testing across Europe at a time when several countries require a negative result before allowing travellers to enter.

“If negative Covid-19 tests are to be required or recommended for any activity, it is essential that they are mutually recognised, and result in certificates recognised across the EU. This is essential, particularly in the context of travel. Our citizens need clarity and predictability,” said the Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides.

The health security committee on Thursday published a list of 16 rapid antigen tests that it said would be mutually recognized in all member states. 

“Member States agree that Covid-19 test results should be made available in the national language(s) of the country where the test was taken, as well as English,” the committee also said.

That should simplify matters for people travelling not only within the EU but also between Europe and the UK, which currently requires arriving travellers to show a negative test result in either English, French or Spanish, with translations not accepted.

The rule has created headaches for people travelling from Italy and other countries whose national languages aren’t on the UK’s list, and where providers issuing results in English can be hard to track down. 

READ ALSO: Where in Italy can you get Covid-19 test results in English?

All test result certificates should include the same set of information, the EU committee said, namely:

  • Person’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Type of test, including manufacturer and commercial name (for antigen tests)
  • Name of infection tested for (SARS-CoV-2)
  • Result
  • Date and time
  • Testing centre
  • Country
  • Test result issuer

The list of rapid antigen tests accepted for public health measures across the EU will be constantly reviewed and updated, the committee said, especially if certain tests are found to be less effective at detecting new variants of the coronavirus.

Find the current list here.

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‘IT problems’ blamed for cancellation of flights from French airports

The French holiday weekend of Ascension has been hit by travel problems after Easyjet cancelled dozens of flights.

'IT problems' blamed for cancellation of flights from French airports

Easyjet announced on Thursday that it would have to cancel several dozen flights, many of which were set to depart from French airports like Paris Charles de Gaulle, Lyon, Toulouse and Nice.

The British budget airline tweeted an apology to the customers impacted, explaining that ‘IT system issues’ were to blame. 

In total, 200 flights across Europe were affected, confirmed the British newspaper The Independent.

Several customers expressed frustration at the hours-long wait times, many taking to Twitter to vent, like this user below:

So what happened?

Easyjet has not been very specific about the issue aside from explaining that the root of the problem was a computer system failure. They announced quickly that they were working to restore their systems and that in the meantime customers should continue to check Flight Tracker in order to verify the status of their flight prior to leaving for the airport.

While flights were set to resume on Friday, Thursday’s cancellations have had a domino effect, bringing about further delays and cancellations for flights originally scheduled for Friday. 

If you have flights booked, it is best, as stated above, to keep an eye on Flight Tracker in order to avoid potentially long wait-times at the airport.

Will passengers be compensated?

While Easyjet initially explained the IT problem as “beyond [their] control” and an “exceptional circumstance,” the company eventually retracted these statements and released a new statement saying that “Customers can request compensation in accordance with the regulations.” Here is the link to their website to find out more.

If you plan to request a refund, be advised that under European regulation for air passenger rights, travellers should be entitled to compensation between €260 to €410 per person depending on the duration of the flight, with the latter representing flight distances of over 1,500 km. Read more here.

Since Brexit, passengers departing from the UK may no longer be covered by the European compensation rules.

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