European Union extends ban on USA travelers as borders reopen

Henrietta Brewer
June 30, 2020

The EU extended its ban on travellers not just from the United States but from other big countries, such as Russia, Brazil and India, all of which are seeing rapidly rising caseloads.

The countries whose citizens will have quarantine-free access to the European Union from 1 July include: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The EU says that China could also be added to this list but only if Beijing reciprocates by permitting entry to EU nationals.

European officials reacted with surprise and anger Thursday (12 March) after US President Donald Trump imposed a trans-Atlantic travel ban they fear will wound economies already reeling from the coronavirus pandemic. Tens of thousands of travellers had a frantic, chaotic scramble in March to get home as the pandemic swept across the world and borders slammed shut.

Under the procedure, the member states will be deciding by qualified majority on the list, with the results expected to be announced later today.

Infection rates in Brazil, Russia and India are high too, and they are also unlikely to make the cut.

Locked away in a meeting room in Brussels, officials are debating who will be allowed to enter the European Union on July 1 when the bloc's worldwide borders are scheduled to be opened - and who will be forbidden. But while strict lockdown measures have seen those numbers decline across Europe, in the USA there have been recent flare-ups in states such as Florida and Texas while President Donald Trump has encouraged society to reopen.

In contrast, aside from a notable recent outbreak tied to a slaughterhouse in western Germany, the virus's spread has generally stabilised across much of continental Europe.

However, the health-based criteria has collided with geopolitics, with some countries reluctant to collectively ban the United States while welcoming visitors from China, where the pandemic began.

When EU guidelines were released a few weeks ago officials said the list would take into account the infection rate in countries concerned.

The EU list does not apply to travel to Britain, which left the EU in January.

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