European Council Recommends U.S. Travel Ban
The European Council suggests all their member states refuse to open borders to American travelers this summer. The committee is basing their decision on the spread of COVID-19 compared to the infection rate in European countries.
The European Commission finalized their travel restriction list, and is recommending member states close borders to American travelers until further notice. The travel restriction recommendation list was distributed on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, and excludes lifting restriction on travelers from the United States.
Fifteen Nations on First Allowed Travel List
The European Council’s first travel restriction list names 15 countries, from which inhabitants should be allowed entry starting July 1. Nations on the list include Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea. China is also on the list, but is conditional on the confirmation of reciprocity. For the sake of simplicity, the council is considering residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and The Vatican as European Union residents.
As previously reported, nations with heightened COVID-19 cases are remain on the recommended travel restriction list. Joining the United States on the travel restriction list are Brazil and Russia. The list will be re-evaluated every two weeks, as situations change around the world.
Although this is a recommendation and not a mandate, the European Council is strongly recommending all member states adopt the travel ban list. The council is also recommending the four Schengen-associated countries of Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland adopt the travel restrictions. According to the official recommendation handed down from the European Union Council presidency, the goal is to re-open borders safely and stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Border control is in the interest not only of the Member State at whose external borders it is carried out but of all Member States which have abolished internal border control,” the commission wrote in their statement. “Member States should therefore ensure that measures taken at the external borders are coordinated in order to ensure a well functioning Schengen area.”
Border Opening Based on COVID-19 Cases
In order to welcome banned travelers once more, the European Council is re-evaluating situations based on three criteria. First, a nation must demonstrate a reduced number of COVID-19 cases. The council suggests the number of new cases of COVID-19 over the preceding two-week period should be lower than or close to the European Union average per 100,000 inhabitants.
Countries should also show a stable or decreasing trend in new COVID-19 confirmed cases, and demonstrate a coordinated response to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. In particular, the council recommends “testing, surveillance, contract tracing, containment, treatment and reporting.”
Although the travel restrictions will continue to apply to Americans, there are some exceptions. The council recommends European Union citizens and family members be allowed to enter, as well as long-term EU residents and their family members. Those with “essential functions or needs” should also be allowed to enter the national bloc.
The U.S. Department of State has not publicly commented on the council’s recommendations.