Europe

EU coronavirus regulations could ban UK travelers as of Jan 1

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With the U.K.’s current Brexit transition period concluding at the end of December, some think the changes could ban British travelers from entering the EU under current COVID-19 restrictions.

New EU coronavirus restrictions begin Jan. 1, and with those measures come travel restrictions for any nonmember countries, CNN reported.

A European Commission official told CNN the ban blocks all nonessential travel into Europe.

“The U.K. is not part of the Schengen area and — following the end of the transition period — it will also no longer be treated similarly to a member state,” said the European Commission official, noting that the U.K. “will be subject to the [EU] Council Recommendation on the external travel restriction.”

The European Council will base its admittance to travelers from other nations on whether their country of origin’s epidemiological situation is better or worse than the EU average.

Countries’ “containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations,” will also be factors in determining admittance. 

EU member states in October concluded that only eight countries met the criteria of a “safe country,” including Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“The council is responsible for reviewing the list of third countries towards which the travel restriction is lifted and the council will therefore need to consider the inclusion of the U.K.,” the European Commission official added.

A new country review will take place on Dec. 14, during which the U.K. will once again be considered to join the list of safe countries.

“The list of countries for which restrictions should be lifted is reviewed and, as the case may be, updated regularly,” the council official said, noting it is too early to know what the status of a country will be on Jan. 1.

The U.K. has reported a large influx of COVID-19 cases in recent months, though cases peaked in the middle of November and have continued at slightly lower rates since, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The country has seen over 62,000 fatalities since the outset of the pandemic.

Tags #coronavirus #covid19 Boris Johnson Brexit European Commission European Union U.K.

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