The European Union is holding strong on its stance to ban travellers from the United States from crossing its borders by excluding the country from its roster of countries permitted to enter without restrictions.
The list, unveiled on Tuesday, outlines 14 countries whose residents can travel to the EU without restrictions once the EU reopens its borders Wednesday. As the country with the most confirmed known cases of coronavirus in the world, with 2,610,362 cases as of June 30, according to Johns Hopkins University, the United States did not make the cut.
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“The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover, in particular, the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations,” the European Council of the European Union explains on its website.
While approval for these countries has been granted in terms of lifting various travel restrictions, it is strictly a recommendation and not legally binding. What this means is that the ultimate decision to permit travellers to enter from these locations still falls on the individual member states. They may opt to instead lift travel restrictions gradually for the destinations listed.
To be included on the list, countries are required to meet certain epidemiological criteria:
- The number of new confirmed known cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days per 100,000 residents is “close to or below” the average within the EU on June 15, 202o.
- It must display a “stable or decreasing trend of new cases” over this time compared to the previous 14-day period.
- The overall response to the coronavirus pandemic specifically accesses to available information, such as testing, contact tracing, containment, treating, and reporting.
Should these conditions change in any given country, travel restrictions may be entirely or partially lifted or reinstated fully, the site continues. “If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied.”
The list of countries whose travellers will be permitted entry into the EU as of July 1 are as follows:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
Visitors from China will also be allowed to enter the EU so long as China reciprocates the offer.