İrem UZUN -TDO- The European Union could block incoming travelers from the United States even after it partially reopens its borders because the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is still too high, two EU diplomats said Wednesday.
The EU has drawn up a draft list of countries whose citizens would be allowed to enter the bloc after June 30 as the continent attempts to reopen amid the pandemic. But according to the most recent working document circulated at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Wednesday, the U.S. is not among the countries from which travelers would be allowed in, the diplomats said. The virus is spreading in the U.S., so it is likely Americans would be barred. Brazil, Russia and other countries with high infection rates would also be left off a safe list, according to reports from Brussels.
The European Commission is advising ambassadors only to consider countries that are comparable or better than the EU average when it comes to new infections, the trend in new infections, as well as testing and tracing. The EU is not yet thought to have agreed how they will assess which countries meet health standards - one of the criteria for entry. Part of the problem is assessing reliable health data. Reports said member states were assessing two different lists. The Politico website said one covered countries with fewer than 16 cases per 100,000 people and the other with up to 20 cases, which would include Canada and Turkey.
Other criteria also being considered are reciprocity and links to the EU. According to the BBC, France wants the EU to give access only when it is reciprocated by other countries, while Spain is said to be keen to reopen the border with neighboring Morocco.