European Union bans Americans travelers 1

European Union bans Americans travelers

  • EU to suspend all non-essential travel for US visitors.
  • EU to reinstate travel restrictions due to US COVID-19 surge.
  • EU tourists still remain banned from entering the US.

EU officials recommended to suspend all non-essential travel from the United States as US new COVID-19 case numbers spiked.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen

The European Union has advised its member states to remove the United States, Israel, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the list of safe countries for non-essential travel, due the rising number of new coronavirus infections in those countries.

Today’s announcement by the European Council amounts to a recommendation to the bloc’s 27 member states, which technically retain sovereignty over their own borders. It reverses the June recommendation to ease restrictions on US travelers.

The recommendation is nonbinding, meaning individual countries will be allowed to decide if they still wish to allow US visitors with proof of vaccination, negative tests, or quarantine.

The EC updates its travel recommendations every two weeks, based on COVID-19 infection levels. To be considered “safe” a country needs to have no more than 75 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the 14-day period. 

According to the latest data, the US averaged 152,000 new COVID-19 cases per day last week, on par with numbers from late January.

The latest surge is straining hospitals and health care workers. Roughly one in five intensive care units have reached at least 95% capacity.

Death rates have risen too – reaching an average of more than 1,000 per day. Just over half of all Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Unvaccinated people are about 29 times more likely to be admitted to hospital with COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, tourists from the EU – and much of the rest of the world – remain banned from entering the US under the restrictions imposed early in the pandemic.

In early August, the Biden administration was rumored to be considering a vaccination requirement to reopen the borders, but nothing has been heard about the proposal since.

Earlier this month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the lack of reciprocity would not be allowed to “drag on for weeks”.

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