EU drops US from list of Covid-safe countries for non-essential travel

WION Web Team
Brussels, Belgium Published: Aug 30, 2021, 10:16 PM(IST)

Paris airport Photograph:( Reuters )

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Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia have also been removed from the list

As of Monday, the European Union removed five territories, including the United States from its list of countries that were earlier exempt from restrictions on non-essential travel during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Visitors from the United States and the five other countries will now likely face tighter controls, such as COVID-19 tests and quarantines.

Also read | EU set to propose travel restrictions on US visitors

In addition to the US, Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia have also been omitted from the list.

This list intends to standardise travel rules across the EU, but it does not bind the individual member states, which can still set their own border policies.

However, so far most EU members have followed Brussels' travel recommendation during the crisis.

Several EU countries, including Germany and Belgium, already categorise the United States as red and require testing and quarantines, while France and the Netherlands deem it safe.

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According to data from Our World in Data, average US COVID-19 cases in the week to August 28 numbered more than 450 per million people, up from under 40 when the European Union added the US to its list in mid-June.

According to the data, Israel, Kosovo, and Montenegro have an even higher rate of cases.

Non-EU visitors who have full immunisations are still allowed into the EU bloc, although testing and quarantines may apply, depending on the country of arrival.

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With Canada, Japan, and New Zealand included on the EU safe list, now the number of safe countries is 17. COVID-19 issues in each country, as well as reciprocity, are heavily weighed in while assembling the list.

However, as Washington does not allow EU citizens to visit freely despite EU appeals, a division exists within the bloc over reciprocity and the growing number of US cases versus those that rely on tourism and would prefer not to restrict US visitor numbers.

According to a statement by the bloc, the list will be reviewed regularly and updated as needed.

(With inputs from agencies)

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