Sunday, 12 July, 2020

European Union loosens travel ban, but US still shut out

Eu-us-travellers-banned The EU to opening its borders to travelers from selected countries this week
Deanna Wagner | 01 July, 2020, 05:15

The European Council on Tuesday announced that it would start lifting travel restrictions for 14 countries outside the EU beginning 1 July, after closing its external borders in March to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay made the cut.

The EU is also planning to allow entry to citizens from China, but on the condition that a reciprocal agreement is reached.

Under that criteria, travellers from the United States, Brazil and Canada would remain banned.

After four months of travel bans, Europe will soon officially be open to visitors from at least 14 countries, but the United States isn't on the list.

President Donald J. Trump suspended the entry of all people from Europe's ID check-free travel zone in March, making it extremely hard for the European Union to include the USA on their safe travel list.

At least 15 European Union countries, or 65 percent of the population, had to vote for a country to be placed on the safe list. This is primarily due to fast-rising COVID-19 infection rates in that country.

The EU has tried to reopen internal borders, as a number of countries have restricted access for some visitors, such as the Czech Republic, who will not allow tourists from Portugal or Sweden.

Travelers from 14 countries will be welcomed into the EU from this week

In addition, China would be included if it reciprocated by allowing in European Union travelers, said the statement.

The overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR).

The EU put in place a temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the bloc on March 17, initially for a period of 30 days but extended on several occasions.

Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.

The EU will review the list every two weeks after watching trends of infections.

The criteria are based on epidemiological data and on Thursday, the draft list had 54 nations that would be accepted.

Whatever is decided in Brussels will exist only as a recommendation since border control remains a national competence and a limited number of flights to and from banned countries have continued throughout the crisis.

In March, President Donald Trump suspended all people from Europe´s ID check-free travel zone from entering the US, making it unlikely now that USA citizens would qualify to enter the EU.

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