The European Union recommended Monday that its 27 member states reimpose restrictions on American travelers due to rising COVID-19 cases in their country.
The European Council voted to remove the United States and four other countries from its safe list for nonessential travel. The announcement came via a press release published on the council’s website.
The move reverses the EU’s decision in June when it advised member states to lift restrictions for Americans ahead of the summer tourism season.
Despite the EU’s guidance, individual countries retain the right to determine their own requirements for all incoming travelers, including Americans. Such requirements may or may not include additional testing, quarantine upon arrival or outright bans on nonessential travel. Certain member states might even exercise the option of allowing only vaccinated travelers to enter.
Greece has yet to respond to the EU’s announcement, but (at the time of this article’s publication) the government’s official travel portal still lists American travelers as being allowed to enter the country under the same conditions as when Greece’s borders reopened to the world on May 14.
A variety of travel rules will likely come into effect throughout Europe since the EU has no blanket COVID-19 travel policy and each member state has final say on its own entry rules.
In addition to the U.S., the EU also removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the safe travel list. The EU updates the list every two weeks based on each country’s epidemiological data. The threshold for making the list is having no more than 75 new cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days.
The U.S. has yet to reopen its borders to Europeans since former President Donald Trump imposed a ban on all EU travelers in March 2020. On July 26, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the country not yet ready to lift restrictions on international travel, citing concerns over the highly contagious Delta variant.
As of Monday, the U.S. is averaging more than 155,000 new cases and 1,200 deaths per day. Several states have more coronavirus patients in the hospital now than at any other time during the pandemic.
Featured image: Arrivals at the Adolfo Suarez-Barajas airport in Madrid, Spain, on June 21, 2020. Credit: Bernat Armangue/Associated Press
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