The European Union has excluded the USA, Russia and Brazil from its initial ‘safe list’ of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed from today, Wednesday 1 July.
The 27-member EU bloc has given approval to leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders. The countries are:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
The EU intends to carry out reviews every two weeks to assess what countries can be included on the ‘safe list’.
Turkey, along with the USA, Russia and Brazil, is also among countries whose containment of Coronavirus (Covid-19) is considered worse than the EU average – and it will also have to wait at least two weeks.
.@EUCouncil agrees to start lifting travel restrictions for residents of some third countries
Find out more: https://t.co/m80mijpMxp
— EU Council Press (@EUCouncilPress) June 30, 2020
The EU Council’s recommendation is not legally binding. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation.
However, an EU member state should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed third countries ‘before this has been decided in a co-ordinated manner’, the statement read.
The criteria that the EU Council has used to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover each country’s epidemiological situation and containment measures, including social distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.
The statement stipulated that, regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:
- number of new Covid-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
- stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
- overall response to Covid-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR).
The EU’s efforts to re-open internal borders, particularly among the 26-nation Schengen area which normally has no frontier checks, have been patchy as various countries have restricted access for other visitors.
Greece is ordering Covid-19 tests for arrivals from a range of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with self-isolation until results are known. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic is not allowing in tourists from Portugal and Sweden.
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