The European Commission funded EU HEALTHY GATEWAYS joint action (2018-2022) aims to improve EUMS preparedness and response capacities at points of entry (airports, ports and ground crossings). A total of 28 countries participate in the joint action.
The EU HEALTHY GATEWAYS joint action contributed significantly to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic especially to the measures implemented in Europe at airports, ports and ground crossings as well as onboard conveyances (airplanes, ships, cruise ships, ferries, inland vessels, trains and buses).
The final conference and the 2nd General Assembly meeting of the European joint action HEALTHY GATEWAYS (https://www.healthygateways.eu/) were held on board the cruise ship Celestyal Crystal docked at the port of Lavrio on the 10-11 March 2022.
Group photo in person and virtual participants of 2nd General Assembly Meeting – 10th March 2022
More than 250 people from 32 countries participated in person or virtually together with presenters from EUMS, from 8 European institutions (DG SANTE, DG MOVE, HaDEA, ECDC, EASA, EMSA, ERA, Frontex) from WHO (WHO HQ, WHO EURO) and other International Organisations, from US CDC, Taiwan CDC, EU SHARP Joint Action, from other universities and research centers, cruise line representatives and air companies as well as port authorities (CLIA, Celestyal, COLUMBIA Cruise Services, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, the Apollo Group, Viking Cruise, Royal Caribbean, MSC, MedCruise, Piraeus Port Authority, Heraklion Port Authority, IATA, Lufthansa, Boeing, UIC).
Group photo in-person and virtual participants of Final Conference – 11th March 2022
During the 2-day event, the results and impact of the EU joint action at global, European, national and local level together with the sustainability plan of the different activities and future actions were presented.
Participants and presenters confirmed the significant contribution and support the joint action provided during the pandemic (>15 advice documents, >40 consultations, webinars, research protocols, European Digital Passenger Locator form) as well as during EUMS routine operations (European Database for recording Ship Sanitation Certificates, annual European inspection programme on passenger ships, Memorandum of Understanding for the Points of Entry, training courses and table top exercises etc.). General Assembly members unanimously decided on the continuation of the network of experts on public health issues related to transport as well as of the tools developed by the joint action and nominated the University of Thessaly (joint action coordinator) to continue the administrative support for the activities after the end of the joint action.
The General Secretary of Public Health of the Ministry of Health, Eirini Agapidaki, announced the opening of the 2nd General Assembly meeting of the European joint action.
Eirini Agapidaki, General Secretary of Public Health of the Ministry of Health of Greece
The Minister of Tourism of Greece, Vasilis Kikilias, announced the opening of the Final Conference and noted the importance of the joint effort at European level and the EU HEALTHY GATEWAYS contribution in responding to the pandemic and restarting the tourism activities. Mr Kikilias expressed his appreciation for the contributions of the scientific community to the societies, travelers and tourists and his optimism for this year’s touristic season.
Dr Vasilis Kikilias, Minister of Tourism of Greece
The Director of Public Health, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission, John Ryan in his keynote speech presenting the actions of the European Union and of the Member States during the pandemic, characterised the EU HEALTHY GATEWAYS as a best practice example and commented on how important the support of Joint Action was during the pandemic stressing at the same time the need for ensuring sustainability of the Joint Action results.
Mr John Ryan, Director of Public Health at the Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission
The Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, Ioannis Plakiotakis presented the closing address. In his speech, Mr Plakiotakis noted the support provided by the Joint Action to the development of national protocols and the restart of tourism and in particular the cruise industry with advice documents and training programs. In addition, he announced the establishment of the National Public Health Observatory in Means of Transport and Points of Entry and noted that the Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy is ready to start discussions with the relevant Ministries to provide administrative support to the Joint Action activities so as to ensure their continuation by the Member States of the European Union.
Mr Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy of Greece