European Union To Remove The U.S. From Its ‘Safe Travel’ List

American travelers in Europe may soon face additional Covid-related restrictions such as quarantines and testing requirements. The European Union has already begun the procedure to remove the United States and five other countries from its “safe travel” list, reports Reuters.

Travelers from countries on the safe list can visit E.U. countries without quarantining by showing only a recent negative test result, while travelers from other countries are discouraged from visiting for non-essential reasons. However as the “safe list” is non-binding, American travelers would not automatically be barred from entry to E.U. countries. The last word will come from each individual E.U. country, which has the authority to impose their own restrictions. In other words, it’s going to be a messy patchwork of different rules and regulations across the continent.

The change to the so-called “safe list” could become official as soon as Monday. The other countries on the chopping block include Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia.

The E.U.’s safe list includes countries outside the 27-member block that are considered safe amid the Coronavirus pandemic due to the low rates of infections. The list is updated periodically based on the latest coronavirus developments in each country.

The threshold for being on the “safe travel” list is having fewer than 75 new Covid-19 cases daily per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days. Currently the United States has an infection rate roughly seven times above that threshold.

The picture looked rosier for the U.S. when it was added to the list of safe countries in mid-June. At that time, the vaccination rollout was well underway in the United States, and the number of new daily Covid cases was declining. But now, as the delta variant of the coronavirus continues to sweep across America, Covid levels are back to what they were in January.

In early August, when the infection rate in the U.S. was half as high as it is currently — but still well over the “safe travel” threshold — the bloc discussed curbing U.S. travelers, but decided to keep the status quo.

Last Thursday, the E.U. member countries again debated whether to reimpose limits on U.S. tourists. This time around, European nations reportedly concluded that the U.S. is not able to remain on the list.