On Thursday, the European Council updated the list of safe countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
From July 31, residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay, will be permitted to enter Europe.
It is noted that Algeria was removed from the list.
“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,” the Council said.
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 EU average (as it stood on 15 June 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 (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions:
- EU citizens and their family members
- long-term EU residents and their family members
- travellers 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 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, the announcement continued.
The ‘safe list’ will be reviewed regularly and adjusted depending on the latest coronavirus developments in each country.