US dropped from EU’s coronavirus safe travel list

The EU on Monday removed the U.S. from its approved coronavirus travel list following a review of restrictions.

The move means unvaccinated U.S. travelers could once more face restrictions on nonessential trips to Europe — just months after the U.S. was added to the safe travel list.

Cases and hospitalizations have increased sharply in the U.S. in recent weeks. Countries on the EU’s list have to have 75 or fewer infections per 100,000 people over the previous 14 days; the U.S. is far above that.

The Council of the EU also decided to remove Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia from the list. EU member countries aren’t obliged to follow the Council’s recommendation, but most do.

The EU last year restricted nonessential travel from non-EU countries in a bid to prevent coronavirus imports; the nonbinding travel list catalogs the countries which the Council considers safe enough for travel. That assessment happens on the basis of countries’ health situation, approach to the pandemic, and whether the EU’s opening is reciprocated.

That hasn’t happened with the U.S., which continues to restrict entry for EU citizens.

The Biden administration’s refusal to lift travel restrictions has created frustration in the bloc. Earlier this month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called on the U.S. to lift its travel ban, arguing the epidemiological situations in the U.S. and the EU were “very similar.”

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