EU to Remove the United States from Travel ‘Safe List’ due to Increased COVID Numbers

The European Union is allegedly planning to reverse its June decision to lift restrictions on US travelers and to recommend its member nations to reinstate the restrictions due to the rising level of COVID-19 infections in the United States, The Hill reports.

EU Council is expected to announce Monday its decision to remove from the list of epidemiologically safe third countries a total of six countries, including the US, so they will no longer beeligible to enter restriction-free for non-essential purposes like tourism and business

EU diplomats noted that the recommendation could come as early as this week, but underlined that any decision regarding this matter would be non-binding for the bloc’s members since EU has no unified COVID-19 policy on tourism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported over 11,000 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 for the past two weeks while the EU criteria for allowing nonessential travel requires the country where the passenger is coming to have no more than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 over the last two weeks.

The newest EU advisory could potentially affect the reopening decisions by some of its member nations like Denmark to lift all COVID-19 restrictions beginning in September citing record vaccination levels in the country.

The other countries removed from the safe list are Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia.

The list of epidemiologically safe third-countries is a list of non-EU/EEA countries considered safe amid the COVID pandemic due to the low rates of infections and is reviewed every fortnight.

Apart the increased number of Covid cases, one of the reasons for the pressure to remove US from the safe travel list is the fact that Washington has never lifted the ban on nonessential travel to the US from European countries despite the warning by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in August that EU will not allow the lack of reciprocity to drag on for weeks.

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