European Union travel ban deems PH, US not part of 'safe countries'

Clay Curtis
July 2, 2020

Criteria also include the measures put in place against the virus in the country, including the number of tests available, and the reliability of the data. In an effort to help rescue the tourism industry, the European Council will relax travel restrictions for a list of selected "safe" countries on 1 July, in time for the summer season. The list was approved by a majority of member states on Tuesday.

Chinese citizens will be allowed into the European Union in principle - but only once China lifts its ban on European Union citizens.

U.S. infection rates will need to dramatically drop if Americans are to be allowed entry to European countries, just as the European tourism industry enters what are traditionally its peak months.

China made it to the list, which will be updated every two weeks, but on the condition that Beijing do the same for Europeans, a statement said. China will also be included on the list if it allows entry to European Union travelers in return.

The EU has tried to reopen internal borders, as a number of countries have restricted access for some visitors, such as the Czech Republic, who will not allow tourists from Portugal or Sweden.

The list has been drawn up largely based on epidemiological criteria and the status of the Covid-19 epidemic in the countries in question.

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Those on the list are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Japan, Georgia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The restrictions also apply to countries like Turkey, Russia, and Brazil.

Since mid-March, EU members banned entry to visitors from outside the bloc, with a few exceptions for essential travel in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The decision has been the result of long and hard negotiations between European Union countries with varied approaches to travel restrictions.

"I didn't find it surprising at all, but it is affecting a handful.I don't think people as a general rule are planning on traveling very far this year anyway", said owner of Northland Travel MB Schmidt-Quainoo. Israel is also off the list.

The EU council stressed that "member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation", meaning this will vary from country to country.

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