European Union may reintroduce travel restrictions for Americans amid rising coronavirus cases
The European Council has removed the US from the safe list of countries for nonessential travel, reversing its own advice from June aimed at making travel over the summer holiday period easier.
The advice is non-binding as the EU does not have one unified Covid-19 policy, and it will be up to each of the 27 member states to decide if they continue to accept US tourists.
Restrictions imposed by members states could include quarantines, increased arrival testing or a ban on non-essential travel from the US.
The European Council’s list is reviewed every two weeks and updated according to Covid-19 infections levels.
To stay on the safe travel list a country must have not more than 75 new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over that two-week period.
Last week, the US saw an average of 152,000 new cases every day, with 85,000 hospitalisations, numbers not seen since the beginning of the year.
The US has had more than 38.9m positive cases during the pandemic and more than 637,000 deaths.
In addition to the US, other countries removed from the list included Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and the Republic of North Macedonia.
While the EU lifted its restrictions on American tourists in June, the US ban on non-essential European and UK travel has remained in place since March 2020.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said earlier this month that the lack of reciprocity would not be allowed to “drag on for weeks”.
Covid-19 cases in the US have surged in recent weeks with the Delta variant spreading quickly among unvaccinated Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that as of Saturday just 52.1 per cent of the US population was fully vaccinated.
South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas have less than 50 per cent of their population fully vaccinated, which experts say is essential for maximum protection against the Delta variant.