The Council of the European Union has removed the United States, Israel, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Lebanon from its epidemiologically safe third countries list after a surge in the number of COVID-19 infections recorded recently in these territories.
SchengenVisaInfo.com previously reported that the EU would take such a step on Monday as the US, together with these countries, have lately been profoundly affected by the Coronavirus.
Therefore, the recent decision means that citizens from these territories are subject to entry bans when planning to head to 27 EU Member States while travel for non-essential purposes, including tourism, is prohibited, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Besides, the Council of the European Union has clarified that from August 30, the list of epidemiologically safe third countries includes the following territories:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Brunei Darussalam
- New Zealand
- Republic of Moldova
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
China is subject to confirmation of reciprocity, meaning that if China permits entry into its territory for EU travellers, the EU will lift the entry ban imposed on Chinese passengers. However, the reciprocity rule does not apply to Hong Kong and Macao.
“Travel restrictions should also be gradually lifted for the special administrative regions of China, Hong Kong and Macao,” the statement published by the Council of EU notes.
According to the figures published by the World Health Organization, a total of 181,046 new COVID-19 infection cases have been reported in the United States in the last 24 hours.
The same source reveals that in the last 24 hours, Kosovo has recorded a total of 1,630 new cases of COVID-19, Montenegro 557, Israel 6,576, North Macedonia 663, and Lebanon 1,153.
On June 18, the Council of the EU included the US in the list of countries considered safe based on their epidemiological situation, advising the member states to permit Americans to enter their territory restriction-free.
In July, the United States President, Joe Biden, indicated that the US could soon follow the EU example and lift the ban imposed on European travellers that remains in place for over 16 months now due to the Coronavirus outbreak. However, such a decision has not been taken yet, even though it has been criticized by many governments and organizations.
Besides, the current COVID-19 situation pushed the EU Council to impose a ban on arrivals from the US, temporarily freezing the travel process between both territories once again.
The safe travel list published by the EU Council is updated every two weeks, taking into account the COVID-19 situation in other countries.
In order to become part of the EU’s safe list, countries should have not more than 75 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past 14 days.