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June 26, 2020 - European Union officials are working to agree on who can visit the bloc when it reopens its borders to the outside world, based on how countries of origin are faring with new coronavirus cases. The United States will likely be excluded.
European nations appear on track to reopen their borders between each other by July 1. Their representatives in Brussels have been debating what virus-related criteria should apply when lifting border restrictions to the outside world, which were imposed in March to stop all non-essential travel to Europe.
In recommendations to EU nations on June 11, the European Commission said “travel restrictions should not be lifted as regards third countries where the situation is worse" than the average in the 27 EU member countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
That is likely to rule out people living in the United States, where new coronavirus infections have surged to the highest level in two months, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University. After trending down for well over a month, new U.S. cases have risen for more than a week.
The virus outbreaks in Brazil, India and Russia are remarkably high too, and it’s also unlikely that the EU will let their citizens in.
For the EU’s executive arm, the key criteria for opening up to the outside world should include the number of new infections per 100,000 population – the exact ceiling is up for debate – and the country’s overall response to the pandemic, in terms of testing, surveillance, treatment, contact tracing and reporting cases.
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