On Tuesday, the EU granted approval for leisure or business trips from 14 countries outside the EU’s borders. The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
China has also been tentatively approved, although travel would only be allowed if Chinese authorities allowed in EU visitors. Reciprocity is a condition for being on the list.
Russia, Brazil and Turkey, together with the United States, belong to countries whose virus control is considered to be worse than the EU on average, so they must wait at least two more weeks for approval.
The aim is to support the EU travel industry and the tourism industry, especially those countries in southern Europe that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.
It serves as a recommendation to EU members, which means that countries could potentially impose restrictions on those traveling from the 14 nations. Britain was not considered for the list because of its current Brexit status.
Over the past few days, new cases in the US have shot up by 80 percent, according to a New York Times database as a result of widespread Black Lives Matter protests.
Within hours of the EU announcement, Italy, which has one of the highest death rates in the world, said quarantine restrictions would be maintained for all nations not in the Schengen area. “The global situation is still very complex. We must prevent that Italian sacrifices in recent months were in vain,” said Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.
But countries like Spain and France are considering allowing direct flights from the UK in an effort to restore crucial tourism revenue.
The EU’s efforts to re-open internal borders, particularly in the Schengen area with 26 member states which normally do not have border controls, have been moderately successful as different countries have restricted entry from certain destinations.