The European Union has instructed its members to remove the US – as well as Israel, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia – from the list of safe countries for non-essential travel, citing the rising number of Covid-19 cases.
Monday’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 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 AP, the US averaged 152,000 new Covid-19 cases per day last week, on par with numbers from late January.
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.
UK keeps Pakistan on red list
The British government decided to keep Pakistan on the travel red list after updating its travel advisory, Thursday. UK’s decision to keep Pakistan on the red list disappointed officials and the population alike.
Covid-19: EU removes US from 'safe travel' list, paving way for new restrictions https://t.co/QxhWN8QcBO via @FRANCE24 The EU also removed Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the safe travel list.
— Tim Judah (@timjudah1) August 30, 2021
Pakistan remains on the list despite weeks of lobbying by the Pakistan High Commission and British Pakistani MPs. They urged the UK government to review Pakistan’s position. However, the UK government showed no change for Pakistan.
Reports said that the British officials reviewed three major factors – genomic surveillance capability, transmission risk, and variants of concern – to take the decision.
To consider removing Pakistan from the red list, UK ministers need satisfaction that the risk of variants of concern being imported into the UK has been significantly reduced.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk