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Americans will remain excluded from European travel

American Air staff are among the empty ticket kiosks at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California on Friday May 22, 2020.

Irfan Khan | Getty Images

Travelers from a list of 15 countries will be able to join the European Union starting on Wednesday, but the United States is not on the list.

Thirty countries in Europe (26 of which are EU members) closed their external borders in March to mitigate the spread of Covid-1

9. While most of them reopen their economies, they are also starting to welcome outside visitors, albeit at a much slower pace than before the pandemic.

EU governments decided on Tuesday to open their external borders in Algeria, Tunisia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. Chinese travelers will also be admitted to the EU, but only if China announces that it will also accept European visitors.

The decision was made based on the health situation of the countries of origin and will be reviewed every two weeks.

For each country on the list, the EU stated that the following criteria must be met: the number of new Covid-19 cases in the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants must be close to or below the EU average; there should be a stable or decreasing trend of new cases in this period compared to the previous 14 days; and the global response to Covid-19 had to be considered.

The recommendation was given to all EU Member States and Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland).

However, it is not binding, which means that EU Member States can do it reopen their borders to whatever countries they want. The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, has insisted on the need to reopen external borders in a coordinated way to avoid travel chaos, but in the end it is a national decision.

In this context, European governments were advised not to lift travel restrictions for unlisted countries until it was decided in a coordinated way.

The United States currently has the highest number of coronavirus infections – nearly 2.6 million – in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. Dr Anne Schuchat, deputy chief director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Monday in an interview that the virus is moving too quickly in the United States, in what she described as a “very daunting” situation.

In recent days, the United States has set records for new daily infections while cases increase mainly in the south and west of the country.

In March, President Donald Trump suspended the trip from Europe to the United States. At the time, the EU criticized the decision to be taken “unilaterally and without consultation”.

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