Following the first review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the European Union (E.U), the Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. This list will continue to be reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from July 16 member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
Note: Residents of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican should be considered as E.U. residents for the purpose of this recommendation.
Notably left off the list is the United States, which set another record of new daily cases Thursday with 75,600, according to The New York Times. It was the 11th time the U.S. has set a daily record in the past month.
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively. Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:
- Number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the E.U. average (as it stood on June 15, 2020)
- Stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
- Overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations
Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis, the European Council says.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions:
- E.U. citizens and their family members
- Long-term E.U. residents and their family members
- Travelers with an essential function or need, as listed in the recommendation
Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.
The European Council recommendation is not a legally binding instrument. The authorities of the member states remain responsible for implementing the content of the recommendation. They may, in full transparency, lift only progressively travel restrictions towards countries listed.
A member state should not decide to lift the travel restrictions for non-listed third countries before this has been decided in a coordinated manner, the Council adds.
This list of third countries should continue to be reviewed every two weeks and may be further updated by the Council, as the case may be, after close consultations with the Commission and the relevant E.U. agencies and services following an overall assessment based on the criteria above.
Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation. If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.