The European Union will begin lifting restrictions on nonessential travel into the EU from residents of up to 15 countries, starting July 1. Per recommendation by the Council of the European Union, the countries included are:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
Note that the United States is not on the list.
The Council of the European Union’s list was determined primarily by each country’s “epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations.” Such criteria include exhibiting a “stable or decreasing trend” of new cases of COVID-19, and the “overall response” to the crisis with regard to testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment, and reporting.
The United States, which was the first country to restrict travel from the European Union in March as the global pandemic descended, was left out of the list of safe countries in what is seen as a public denouncement of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. The U.S. in recent days has been battling fresh surges of the virus across the Sun Belt, in states like California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina, as social distancing wanes and citizens shed face masks in the summer heat. In total, 31 states have seen an increase in new cases in the last week, prompting 16 states to put plans for reopening on hold.
The Council will review its recommendation every two weeks for updates. So if you’d like to be sunbathing on the beaches of the Mediterranean anytime in the near future, maybe keep your mask on!