European Union narrows down border list, United States unlikely to make the cut

Tourists are seen by the Bridge of Sighs a day before Italy and neighbouring EU countries open up borders for the first time since the coronavirus disease outbreak hit the country in Venice Italy

The European Commission on Thursday insisted that it's not trying to target any country or that the list might be politicized as tourism-reliant countries around Europe push to get their borders open again. The US is so far considered unsafe, given the recent spike in the number of coronavirus cases.

Japan has an entry ban in place for more than 100 countries and regions, including European Union nations, but eased travel restrictions on Vietnam this week and is in talks with Australia, New Zealand and Thailand as these four countries have the virus outbreak under control.

The draft list, which will be reviewed every two weeks, will not include the United States, Brazil, Qatar and Russia, EU sources said.

European Union members agreed to reopen their borders to citizens of 14 countries, with Albania excluded from the list as it is seeing a high number of coronavirus cases, according to a report published by Le Monde. Notably, travelers from China will be allowed to enter the Union's 27 member countries if China adheres to reciprocal travel arrangement on visitors from Europe.

"We have not set the final objective criteria so the first list of countries has not been written".

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The EU's executive commission recommends that "travel restrictions should not be lifted as regards third countries where the situation is worse" than the average in the 27 EU member countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The same sources have also confirmed that citizens of Brazil, Qatar, the United States and Russian Federation will only be able to enter Europe at a later date when the epidemiological situation in these countries improves.

However, the health-based criteria has collided with geopolitics, with some countries reluctant to ban the U.S. while welcoming visitors from China, where the pandemic began.

President Donald Trump publicly announced a series of bans on travelers from Europe in March, and the restrictions remain in place, despite the noticeable drop in coronavirus cases across the EU. "That's the posture that we all sit in now, and I think we're all taking seriously the need to figure out how to get this up", Pompeo said.

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