BRUSSELS (News Nation/Reuters) – The United States is excluded from the European Union’s initial “safe list” of countries from which the 27-country bloc will allow non-essential travel from this week.
The move comes as the number of cases in the United States has gone up over the past week.
More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe annually and any more delay of is likely to continue to hurt the economies and tourism sectors on both sides of the Atlantic.
Majority approval from the EU allowed leisure or business travel from 14 countries beyond its borders, the Council of the EU, which represents EU governments, said in a statement.
The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China has also been provisionally approved, although travel would only open if Chinese authorities also allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition of being on the list.
Russia, Brazil and Turkey, along with the United States, are among countries whose containment of the virus is considered worse than the EU average.
The safe list will be reviewed every 14 days with new countries being added and some possibly dropping off, depending on how the spread of the virus is being managed.
Within hours of the EU announcement, Italy, which has one of the highest COVID death tolls in the world, said it would opt out and keep quarantine restrictions in place for the rest of the EU.
“The global situation remains very complex. We must prevent the sacrifices made by the Italians in recent months have been in vain,” Italy Health Minister Roberto Speranza said.
Canada also said it was extending its mandatory quarantine order for travelers until at the least the end of August and a travel ban for most foreigners until the end of July.
The EU’s efforts to reopen internal borders, particularly within the 26-nation Schengen area which normally has no frontier checks, have been patchy as various countries have restricted access for certain visitors.