Exclusion of America from the relaxation of travel restrictions by the European Union has drawn a stinging response from the US Travel Association.

The criteria for the list will be revisited every two weeks from July 1 to add countries that are doing much better to combat Covid-19 or remove those that have worsened.

The full list finalised on Friday includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, Andorra, San Marino, Monaco and the Vatican.

China will be included if it also opens its borders to EU travellers, as reciprocal reopening is one of the criteria used to make the final selection for the safe list.

The UK is still being considered part of the bloc until the end of the year due to the EU exit transition period.

Agreement by the EU came prior to a spike in US coronavirus infections was reported, with record numbers in Florida and Texas as the total passed 2.5 million with more than 125,000 deaths.

Seven million Americans visited Europe between June and August last year, according to US government data.

US Travel Association public affairs and policy executive vice president Tori Emerson Barnes said: “The EU’s announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy.

“In the US alone, travel-related jobs account for more than a third of lost employment due to the fallout of the pandemic.

“Health is paramount, and the public has a major role to play by embracing best practices such as wearing masks, but we are at a stage when it should be possible to make progress.

“This is unwelcome news, and will have major negative implications for an economic recovery – particularly if this ban results in cycles of retaliation, as is so often the case.”

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