E.U. Suggests Reintroducing Travel Restrictions for Unvaccinated Americans

Unvaccinated Americans may be in danger of losing their privilege of traveling to Europe. On Monday, according to The New York Times, the European Union recommended to its member states that they reintroduce travel restrictions for unvaccinated Americans.

At the same time, the E.U. removed the United States, along with five other countries/entities (Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia) from the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. The “safe list” meant residents of those countries could travel to the E.U. without being required to quarantine or test upon arrival. Note that this is not mandatory, and each member state may make the decision for itself.

Should countries follow the advice, the new restrictions would only apply to unvaccinated travelers, as, back in June, the European Council recommends that all visitors who have been fully inoculated with an E.U.-approved vaccine be allowed to travel. (These include the three vaccines available in the United States—Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.)

In the wake of the news, U.S. Travel Association EVP of public affairs and policy Tori Emerson Barnes said, “This is a disappointing development following the boost in inbound visitation by vaccinated travelers that many E.U. countries experienced this summer. It’s a setback despite the uptake in vaccinations—the tool that’s highly effective against the variants—which are on the rise on both sides of the Atlantic.

“Travel is a crucial component of the global economy and will be necessary for a full recovery from the economic devastation of the pandemic. We encourage the E.U. to remain open to vaccinated Americans, and likewise urge the United States to take immediate steps to begin welcoming vaccinated individuals and restoring our travel economy.”

Currently, in the United States, there are on average nearly 157,000 new cases daily (up 20 percent over a 14-day period), with 100,410 hospitalizations (up 24 percent) and nearly 1,300 daily deaths (up 96 percent over that span). According to The Times, most of the South is contending with its most serious outbreak of the pandemic: In Florida, the average number of deaths per day is higher than at any other point in the pandemic, and in Kentucky there are more coronavirus patients in its hospitals than ever before. In other recently hard-hit states, such as Louisiana and Missouri, curves are leveling off or declining.

The European Council uses the following criteria (among others) when deciding whether a non-E.U. country should be listed:

  • Not more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days
  • A stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
  • More than 300 tests per 100,000 inhabitants conducted over the previous seven days, if the data is available to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)
  • Not more than 4 percent positive tests among all COVID-19 tests carried out in the previous seven days, if the data is available to the ECDC

This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.

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