EU countries recommend removing US from COVID safe travel list because of rise in cases

Countries in Europe should reinstate restrictions on tourists from the United States because of risking coronavirus cases, the European Union has recommended on Monday.

The decision by the European Council to remove the United States from a safe list of countries for non-essential travel, reverses advice from June when the bloc lifted restrictions on travellers before the summer.

The guidance could come as early as this week, according to EU diplomats.

But it is non-binding, meaning member states can make their own decisions, although it is likely travellers from the United States will face different rules across the continent.

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The EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national governments have the authority to decide whether they keep their borders open to US tourists.

Restrictions could include quarantine periods, stricter testing requirements on arrival or even a total ban on non-essential travel.

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The US has not reopened its borders to tourists from the EU, despite calls from the bloc for Joe Biden’s government to lift the ban.

The council updates the listed based on infection levels in countries and it is reviewed every two weeks.

The threshold for being on the EU’s safe travel list is having no more than 74 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days.

Last week, cases in the United States averaged more than 152,000 a day and the number of hospitalisations was around 85,000 – levels not seen since February.

Cases have been above 1,200 a day for several days – seven times higher than in July.

The EU has already removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the safe list.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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