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EU ambassadors approve plan to open to vaccinated tourists this summer: report

Greg Nash

Members of the European Union reportedly agreed on Wednesday to relax COVID-19 travel restrictions for travelers from nonmember states.

Sources close to the matter told Reuters that ambassadors from the 27 member countries approved a European Commission proposal to let in fully vaccinated travelers. The proposal would loosen the EU’s criteria for being considered a “safe” country.

The new criteria are expected to be released some time this week or next week, Reuters reports. The outlet notes that the United Kingdom would be considered safe under the new criteria set forth in the European Commission proposal, but the U.S. would not, though fully vaccinated tourists would still be allowed to enter.

Current EU travel restrictions only allow for holiday travel from seven countries, including Australia, Israel and Singapore, regardless of vaccination status. The criteria the EU is looking for right now requires no more than 25 cases per 100,000 people in the past 14 days. The new criteria would raise this to 100 cases per 100,000 people. Reuters reports that the EU ambassadors instead are looking for 75 cases per 100,000.

Speaking to The Associated Press, European Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said the European Council “will now recommend that member states ease some of the current restrictions” for vaccinated people.

“The council should also soon expand the list of non-EU countries with a good epidemiological situation from where travel is permitted,” Wigand added.

The relaxed restrictions would also come with an “emergency brake” to stop coronavirus variants from entering the European bloc by quickly putting travel restrictions in place if the pandemic worsens in a non-EU country.

Tags European Commission European Union Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism Tourism travel restrictions

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