Thu | Jul 2, 2020

EU reopens its borders to 14 nations but not to US tourists

Published:Tuesday | June 30, 2020 | 9:40 AM
In this Monday, May 11, 2020 file photo, a waiter carries beers for customers sitting at a terrace bar in Tarragona, Spain. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travellers from 14 countries, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the United States.

Travellers from other big countries like Russia, Brazil and India will also miss out.

As Europe’s economies reel from the impact of the coronavirus, southern EU countries like Greece, Italy and Spain are desperate to entice back sun-loving visitors and breathe life into their damaged tourism industries.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, while some 10 million Europeans head across the Atlantic.

Citizens from the following countries will be allowed into the EU’s 27 members and four other nations in Europe’s visa-free Schengen travel zone: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The EU said China is “subject to confirmation of reciprocity,” meaning it must lift all restrictions on European citizens entering China before it will allow Chinese citizens back in.

Countries considered for the safe list are also expected to lift any bans they might have in place on European travellers.

The list is to be updated every 14 days, with new countries being added and some even dropping off depending on whether they are keeping the disease under control.

Still, many people both inside and outside Europe remain wary of travel in the coronavirus era, given the unpredictability of the pandemic and the possibility of second waves of infection that could affect flights and hotel bookings.

Tens of thousands of travellers had a frantic, chaotic scramble in March to get home as the pandemic swept across the world and borders slammed shut.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has surged over the past week, and President Donald Trump also suspended the entry of all people from Europe’s ID check-free travel zone in a decree in March.

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