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The U.S. is (once again) off the safe travel list

The European Union (EU) has recently recommended that its 27 member nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. due to rising coronavirus infections there.  This decision is a 180 degree reversal from the EU’s previous advice, which was just before the summer tourism season.  The EU recommended three months ago to allow nonessential travel and to lift restrictions on U.S. travelers. 

The EU updates its ‘safe travel list’ based on infection levels and it is reviewed every two weeks.  Being on the ‘safe list’ is defined as not having more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.

Last week, new coronavirus cases in the U.S. averaged more than 152,000 a day, reverting to numbers recorded the end of last January.  U.S. coronavirus deaths are currently more than 1,200 a day, which is seven times higher than in early July.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, more than 15 million Americans visited Europe each year.  New travel restrictions could cost Europe billions.  To complicate matters, each EU government has the authority to close or to keep their borders open to U.S. tourists.  A hodge-podge set of restrictions could include quarantines, testing requirements upon arrival, or even a total ban on all travelers from the U.S. 

Britain formally left the EU at the beginning of 2021 and earlier this month, opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S. and placed them on an ‘amber’ travel list.  This is a list of restrictions and coronavirus protocol: fully vaccinated adults arriving from the U.S. to the UK don’t have to self-isolate; a COVID-19 test is required three days before traveling to the UK; and another test two days after arriving.