Coronavirus risk cited as EU unveils plan to block entry into Europe by Americans
- By staff writer
As the European Union prepares to begin allowing outsiders to enter its 27 member countries again on Wednesday, July 1, it has been drawing up a list of countries from which visitors won't be welcome, at least initially, owing to these countries' inability to control their coronavirus outbreak – and one of the countries reported to be on this list is the United States.
That prospect, which would "lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome", was described in a New York Times article last week as representing a "stinging blow to American prestige in the world, and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country".
The list of welcome and unwelcome countries is being drawn up by senior Europen diplomats in Brussels, who have been locked in negotiations for weeks aimed at reopening the 27-member bloc after months of lockdown, reports out of Brussels have noted. The date for reopening is July 1 (Wednesday).
Since the middle of March, travelers from the United States and the rest of the world have not been permitted to visit EU countries, apart from under certain circumstances, such as for repatriation or “essential travel”.
Like many European countries, the U.S. is under pressure from politicians and businesses to end its lockdown in order to mitigate the siginficant financial damage it's having on individuals and businesses. But the number of Covid-19 cases there continues to grow, particularly in such states as Florida and Texas.
The process of drawing up the list of countries from which visitors won't be allowed into the EU has been described as fraught, as the economies of such EU-member countries as Greece and Italy are heavily dependent on tourism, especially during the summer months. For this reason, in fact, Greece has already chosen to opt for a testing- and quarantine-upon-arrival program recently rather than participating in the EU's recommended travel ban.
Once finalized, the EU list of "unwelcome" countries is due to be updated every two weeks, potentially enabling countries that were included on the initial list of banned jurisdictions to be removed from it.
There is a chance that China – generally regarded as the source of the virus outbreak that rapidly spread throughout the rest of the world since the beginning of this year – might end up on the list of countries from which the EU will allow visitors to come, but only if it reciprocates and allows EU citizens to visit China as well, according to reports. If this happens, it will be seen as even more of an indictment of the U.S. efforts to contain the pandemic than the U.S. being on the banned visitors list in the first place, and will raise eyebrows as well because it will coincide by a move across most of the U.S. to ease its lockdown restrictions.
On Monday, two days before the scheduled re-opening of the EU's international borders, the EuroNews.com website published what it said was "the full [draft] list of countries whose nationals will be allowed to enter Europe". The 15 countries on this list were: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and, "subject to confirmation of reciprocity", China.
Not on the list, in addition to the U.S., were Russia and Brazil.
In the end, the list may turn out to be irrelevant, the EuroNews.com article went on to add.
Sources, it seems, have thrown into doubt "the border reopening date of July 1, suggesting agreements will not be forthcoming in time", EuroNews.com noted.
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