Finalized EU travel 'safe list' likely to exclude US

Finalized EU travel 'safe list' likely to exclude US
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The U.S. is expected to be excluded from a finalized list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter European Union (EU) nations again starting in July, according to The Associated Press

Spain's foreign minister, Arancha González Laya, said Monday that the list could include about 15 countries and that it would be based on criteria assessing how they have handled the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The list is likely to be released on Tuesday, the AP noted. 

The countries that are included on the list are reportedly expected to lift any restrictions they have imposed on travelers from Europe as well. The New York Times noted last week that the countries on the EU safe list included Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican.

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The EU is also considering allowing citizens from China enter the bloc, so long as Beijing lifts restrictions on travel from Europe. 

The move to continue banning Americans from entering European countries comes as parts of the U.S. experience a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations stemming from the disease. The U.S. reported more than 44,000 COVID-19 cases on Friday, the first time in more than a month that the single-day total surpassed 40,000. 

The U.S. has reported the most confirmed cases of any country in the world. As of Monday, the country had confirmed more than 2.5 million cases and about 125,000 deaths caused by the virus. 

González Laya said she wasn't aware of any pressure from the U.S. about including the country on the soon-to-be released safe list, the AP noted. She stressed that the list was based on coronavirus statistics and trends certain countries were experiencing with regard to the disease. 

“This is not an exercise to be nice or unfriendly to other countries, this is an exercise of self-responsibility,” she told Spain’s Cadena SER radio, according to the news service. 

The list is expected to be reviewed every 14 days, with countries being added or dropped based on how they are handling the pandemic. The agreement is not legally binding, however, and countries could individually choose to allow U.S. tourists, the Times reported last week.