European Union travel recommendations may impede Americans and Russians

Friday, 26 Jun, 2020

The New York Times first reported Tuesday that a draft European Union list would exclude US travelers from being able to enter the continent.

Europe has, more or less, dampened the spread of COVID-19 as numerous bloc's nations emerge from strict lockdowns. They told the newspaper that the EU's criteria for its list of "safe countries" is as scientific and nonpolitical as possible.

News about the potential ban on United States visitors entering the European Union comes after efforts were made by the EU to grant exemptions to EU citizens resident in the USA who are affected by the travel ban now in effect.

The U.S. has the most reported coronavirus cases and deaths in the world, ahead of Brazil, Russia and India. As of late Tuesday in the United States, at least 2,346,937 had been infected in the country and 121,224 had died, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

One list includes 47 countries and only those countries with an infection rate lower than the European Union average.

Texas governor Greg Abbot said that people under the age of 30 made up the majority of new coronavirus cases.

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The US may also be a problem diplomatically, as on 14 March President Donald Trump unilaterally closed US borders to countries in the EU's Schengen border-free zone. The other and longer list has 54 countries. Each year, more than 15 million Americans visit there, traveling from one country to another without stopping to show a passport.

The European Commission set the framework for a selective list of countries earlier this month, when it said all 27 member states should agree to one set of criteria to allow visitors from outside countries. The New York Times said the list would be revised every two weeks, so the U.S. could be added later.

Draft recommendations from the EU's current presidency Croatia, seen by Reuters, suggest allowing non-EU nationals in from countries with stable or decreasing infections, and those with a "comparable or better epidemiological situation" than Europe.

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On Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he believes the US and its European allies will be able to work out an arrangement. "We are keen, and member states are keen for Europe to be open for tourism for jobs", stated the official. The ban, which applies to most European countries, prevents those affected from re-entering the United States barring specific exceptions.

For the EU's executive arm, the key criteria for opening up to the outside world should include the number of new infections per 100,000 population - the exact ceiling is up for debate - and the country's overall response to the pandemic, in terms of testing, surveillance, treatment, contact tracing and reporting cases.