EU may block Americans from entering as it reopens borders: NYT

EU may block Americans from entering as it reopens borders: NYT
© Greg Nash

The European Union may block Americans from entering its member countries as the bloc plans to reopen its borders on July 1 and the U.S. infection rate remains high, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

The EU has produced two draft lists of acceptable travelers to its member countries, which the Times obtained through an official involved in talks. The list was confirmed to the newspaper by another official involved in the talks and two additional EU officials.

To determine who qualifies for the list, the EU uses its own benchmark, based on epidemiological criteria. The country bloc compares its average of new infections over the past 14 days per 100,000 people, which currently is 16. The first list, which would allow people from 47 countries to enter, includes nations with a lower average case rate than the union. 

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A second list allows travelers from countries that have had an average of 20 new infections in the past two weeks per 100,000 people.

The U.S.’s two-week average of new infections per 100,000 people amounts to 107, grouping the country with Brazil, which has an average of 190, and Russia, which has an average of 80, according to Times data.

The potential travel ban for Americans comes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says his faith is 'bedrock foundation of my life' after Trump claim Coronavirus talks on life support as parties dig in, pass blame Ohio governor tests negative in second coronavirus test MORE prohibited Europeans from traveling to the U.S. in mid-March when the continent was one of the epicenters of the pandemic. The president signaled in May that these restrictions may be dropped soon.

The EU has also blocked those residing outside its member countries from entering the bloc, except for repatriations or “essential travel.”

European officials said that the final list would be updated every two weeks based on the global changes in the outbreak. 

“Discussions are happening very intensively,” to reach consensus in time for July 1, said Adalbert Jahnz, a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, according to the Times.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control have also cautioned leaders that making decisions on travel bans based on a country’s reported case numbers relies on accuracy of its numbers and efficiency of its testing.

The union is expected to produce a final decision on the list early next week before July 1 when officials will present it as a recommendation. The union’s member countries are not required to follow it, but officials say if outbreaks occur, they could limit travel within the EU.