The Council of the European Union issued a list of ‘safe’ destinations for travel beyond the EU from July 1, lifting restrictions to some medium and long-haul destinations following days of wrangling.
The list excludes the US, almost all of Latin America and most of Asia.
The Council recommended a gradual lifting of restrictions on non-essential travel between the EU and 14 destinations, plus China if Beijing also lifts restrictions.
The list includes tourism destinations such as Morocco, Tunisia, Montenegro, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.
However, like China some retain quarantine restrictions on all arrivals. New Zealand has a strict 14-day quarantine restriction in place.
Other long-haul destinations on the list are Japan, South Korea, Uruguay and Rwanda.
Serbia and Georgia make the list in Europe, along with the micro-states of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, and Algeria is also included.
However, the Council noted: “The recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. Member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may lift travel restrictions only progressively towards countries listed.”
The list will be reviewed every 14 days and the Council said EU member states “should not decide to lift travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner”.
The Council said the list was based on “the epidemiological situation and containment measures including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations”.
Among the criteria, the EU specified the number of new Covid-19 cases should be close to or below the EU average, and there should be a stable or decreasing trend of new cases.
The Council said it would also consider the overall response to Covid-19, including testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting; the reliability of information; and reciprocity “on a case-by-case basis”.
It noted: “Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a third country according to changes in the conditions and in the assessment of the epidemiological situation.
“If the situation in a listed country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied.”
The EC recommended temporary restrictions on all non-essential travel from third countries to the EU on March 16, initially for one month.
EU states agreed to the restrictions on March 17 and it was extended each month until on June 11 the EC recommended the restriction end on June 30.
The announcement followed days of disagreement as a draft list of 54 countries was whittled down.
Travellers from listed countries are still required to check with the EU country they wish to visit, as member states may exclude arrivals from some or all the listed countries.
Major tourism source markets excluded from the list include the US, Russia, Brazil, India and the UAE.
Important destinations left off include the US, Turkey, Egypt, the Caribbean, Mexico and most of Asia.
Visitors from China remained excluded, despite the country being listed, because of Beijing’s restrictions on EU and other arrivals.
The full list is:
China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
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