09:32 GMT23 January 2021
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    The ban will come into force since the pandemic safety rules that allow free travel within the bloc will stop applying to the UK following the end of the Brexit transition period.

    British citizens will no longer be able to freely travel in Europe due to the bloc's COVID-19 safety rules after the UK exits the bloc on 1 January, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

    Hungary and Croatia are not included in the list, the European Commission said, and eight non-EU countries, including Singapore, Australia and New Zealand, have been placed on the list of "safe" third nations.

    "We cannot comment on decisions that could be taken by other states on public health matters," a Government spokesperson said in responce to the reports. "We take a scientific, risk-based approach to health measures at the border, and it is of course in the interests of all countries to allow safe international travel as we emerge from the pandemic".

    Travellers from the UK will be still allowed to visit the bloc after 31 December under certain exceptions, including for diplomats, “imperative family reasons” and some “highly qualified third-country workers” from third countries. European citizens living in the UK will continue to be allowed in, as well as Britons living in the EU.

    Earlier, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen agreed that a 'firm decision' about the future of the Brexit talks should be taken by the end of the weekend.

    The EU and the UK haven't reached a post-Brexit agreement generally due to differences over the definition of a level playing field, as well as issues of management and control of fishing waters, with both sides reportedly agreeing to cede no more than 20 percent of current stocks.

    As the 31 December deadline for the transition period looms, there are concerns that the negotiations might end in a no-deal scenario, which would mean that the EU and the UK would have to trade in accordance with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

    coronavirus, COVID-19, United Kingdom, Brexit, UK
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