EU to bar travelers from US as it begins lifting restrictions

EU to bar travelers from US as it begins lifting restrictions
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The European Union (EU) left the U.S. off the list of 15 countries whose residents will be allowed to travel to Europe next month.

The list includes countries like New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea and excludes major world powers like the U.S. and Russia. China is also tentatively on the EU’s list but is pending “confirmation of reciprocity.”

The EU cut off nonessential travel to the continent in March to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic and is in the process of lifting the temporary restrictions.

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The list of countries was drawn up based on health criteria. The United States currently has more confirmed coronavirus cases than any other country in the world. As of Tuesday, it had confirmed more than 2.6 million cases and about 125,500 deaths caused by the virus. 

The list is based on country of residence, not nationality. The list is not legally binding, but the 27 member nations of the EU will likely face pressure to oblige, according to the New York Times.

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 United States was the first country to ban visitors from the European Union in March as the pandemic made its way through Italy and other parts of Europe. Many of the hardest hit countries, including Italy and Greece, have begun reopening some portions of their tourism economies. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoIn Russian bounty debate, once again this administration lacks intelligence Trump administration sanctions Chinese officials over human rights abuses WHO sets up independent panel to assess global coronavirus response MORE has said that he was working with the EU to continue travel between the U.S. and Europe. This month the State Department began processing passports after GOP senators argued that stalling travel would further hinder the economy.

“We’re working with our European counterparts to get that right,” he told a German Marshall Fund conference last week, the Times reported. “There’s enormous destruction of wealth.”