USA and Mexico, out of the EU reopening list 3:34
. – The European Union formally agreed on a series of recommendations that will allow travelers outside the bloc to visit member countries, months after their external borders were closed in response to the covid-19 outbreak.
As widely expected, the list of 14 countries does not include the United States, whose current rate of coronavirus infection does not meet the criteria established by the European Union for it to be considered a “safe country”.
The requirement requires that confirmed cases of covid-19 in the listed countries be similar to or lower than those in the European Union per 100,000 population during the previous 14 days (from June 15).
Nations should also have a “stable or declining trend of new cases during this period compared to the previous 14 days”, as the European Union will consider what measures countries are taking, such as contact tracking, and how reliable are the data of each place.
Mexicans will not be able to go to the European Union at the moment 1:17
The United States not only has the highest number of reported coronavirus infections in the world – currently 2,612,259 – but also the highest number of deaths with 126,512, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
US infection rates need to drop dramatically in order for its citizens to be allowed to enter European countries, as the European tourism sector begins what are traditionally its busiest months.
The recommendations are expected to take effect from July 1, however, it is up to member states to decide exactly how to implement any changes in border policy.
Here are the answers to some key questions about the new rules:
Which countries are on the list?
The list of countries included in the recommendations are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China, where the virus originated, is not on the initial list of 14 countries, but the European Union is willing to include it if the Chinese government is reciprocal and allows citizens of the bloc to enter its borders.
If your country is not on the list, are you officially banned from entering the European Union?
Officially, no. The European Union has no control over the national borders of any member state. However, countries are not expected to deviate from the recommendations to allow entry to a larger group of nations and are more likely to restrict travel from countries on the list.
If your country is not on the list, but you have the residence of a nation that is included, can you travel to the European Union?
Sadly not. According to the guidelines, “residing in a third country for which restrictions on non-essential travel have been lifted must be the determining factor (and not nationality).”
Can you travel through another country to avoid the rules?
No, for the same reason just mentioned. You will be judged by your place of residence and not from where you travel.
Will this be implemented by airlines and airports?
The Council of the European Union emphasized that “Member States continue to be responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation”, which means that this will vary from country to country. The best thing you can do is contact the embassy in the country you want to travel to.
How flexible are the recommendations?
This really depends on how you read them. The criteria and recommendations for implementation are very clear, but there is an annex that covers travelers with “an essential function or need.” They include everything from temporary farm workers to diplomats. If you want to verify it yourself, go to page 10 of this document.
When will the list be updated?
The list is expected to be reviewed every two weeks. However, EU diplomats stressed to CNN that it is “extremely unlikely” that the criteria and methodology will change. This means that for a country to be considered safe, its reported covid-19 figures must be lower than those of the block in the last 14 days.
How will this affect UK travelers?
UK travelers are included in what the European Union calls its “EU + area”, and will be considered if UK governments decide they want to align.
The “EU + area” encompasses all member states of its Schengen visa area (including Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania), as well as the four Schengen-associated states. There would also be Ireland and the United Kingdom if they decide to align.
Are there any exemptions?
Travelers in countries not on the list can still enter the block if they are under the following exemptions: citizens of the European Union or relatives of an EU citizen; long-term EU residents or family members; those with an “essential function or need,” such as diplomats, health workers, or certain agricultural workers.
Have certain countries been excluded for political reasons?
European Union officials previously emphasized to CNN that the decisions made this week are not political, but based on science and only aim to protect citizens from the virus that is re-emerging across the continent. However, those same officials are awaiting the response from the President of the United States, Donald Trump, who previously attacked the bloc on other issues, such as trade and foreign policy.