The European Union has formally announced that travelers from the United States will be prohibited from entering its member-nations when borders to the rest of the world open on July 1.
The decision to restrict Americans resulted from scientific and epidemiological data, citing high infection rates throughout the United States.
Russia, Brazil and India are also on the restricted list, while residents of Canada, New Zealand and Australia are permitted to enter. China is also on the “safe list,” pending a reciprocal agreement from Beijing that will allow Europeans to travel there.
The Europeans will update the list every two weeks, according to the official press release outlining the details and listing all “safe nations” here.
EU member nations have experienced clusters of infections since they began relaxing their own restrictions. Germany, Spain and Portugal are among those that have reimposed localized lockdowns in the past few weeks.
But for the bloc as a whole, diagnoses have slowed to 16 cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks, the main measure that Europe used to determine which countries to restrict.
The United States, by contrast, stands at 122 cases per 100,000 people, and numbers are getting worse. Florida has set records for the past 19 days in a row and officials in Arizona said infections were “out of control.”
The EU established clear epidemiological criteria requirements for entrance to the region.
According to guidelines set by the EU scientists who established the rules, new cases of Covid-19 in a country must be close to or below 16 per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days. The criteria also evaluates what a nation is doing in the battle against the pandemic, including testing practices and reduction of cases.
The chaotic response to the Coronavirus pandemic in the United States has been front page news in every European capital and government leaders are reiterating that the decision to exclude the United States isn’t political— and based exclusively on statistics.
Arancha González Laya, Spain’s Foreign Minister told a local Spanish radio station that the decision to exclude the United States wasn’t political.
“This is not an exercise to be nice or unfriendly to other countries, this is an exercise of self-responsibility,” she said.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, said last week that the US was working with European countries on reopening to find “the right way to do that, the right timing to do it, the right tactics to have in place”. He added that the US didn’t “want to cause problems any place else”.
The prohibition of American travelers from entering the European Union, and specifically Greece, will have significant economic, cultural and geopolitical ramifications.