EU gives green light to return of US tourists, vaccinated or not
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EU gives green light to return of US tourists, vaccinated or not

Credit: Belga

European Union member states have officially given the green light to add the United States to the list of countries and territories from which travellers, even those not vaccinated against Covid-19, can be admitted to the EU, European sources told AFP.

This measure, decided on Wednesday, is expected to go into effect from tomorrow/Thursday 17 June, according to reports.

In addition to the US, Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao have been added to the list, which previously only included eight countries (Japan, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand).

This list of countries, for which Member States should start lifting the travel restrictions, is reviewed and updated by the Council every two weeks, with the last update dating from 3 June 2021.

Being on the list, however, does not prevent travellers from these countries or territories from being subjected to measures such as testing or even quarantine by the destination country.

In May, the 27 Member States already decided to relax entry restrictions for travellers from non-EU countries who are fully vaccinated with a Covid-19 vaccine authorised in the EU.

Due to the pandemic, the EU closed its external borders in March 2020 to non-essential travellers, and drew up a shortlist of third countries whose residents are allowed entry, which was regularly updated.

This list of third countries, which is set to include the US from Thursday, is based on the countries’ epidemiological situation, the progress of their vaccination campaigns, the number of tests carried out and the reliability of their data.

Countries can be included if they recorded fewer than 75 confirmed coronavirus cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days.

In the United States, this rate is currently at 73.9, according to the latest figures from the European Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC). Additionally, the US is also in discussions on mutual recognition of health certificates or proof of vaccination.

On Tuesday, they agreed to set up a working group to enable “the resumption of travel in a sustainable and secure manner” between the EU and the US, following an EU-US summit in Brussels – the first such meeting since 2017.

Additionally, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market Thierry Breton on 7 June that the EU is asking for “reciprocity” from the US in terms of welcoming European tourists, particularly with regard to quarantine.

The Brussels Times