06:09 GMT04 July 2020
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    Earlier, US media reported that countries with large numbers of new coronavirus cases would be left off of Brussels’ ‘safe’ travel list, with EU officials meeting last week to discuss the issue in detail.

    The European Union will not allow would-be travellers from the US engaged in non-essential travel to enter the bloc once regular air leisure and business travel resumes Wednesday, the European Council has announced.

    In a statement Tuesday, the EC published a list of approved ‘safe’ nations, including Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

    According to the bloc, travellers from China will also be approved, on condition that Beijing opens its borders to allow visitors from the European Union.

    Along with the US, travel restrictions continue to apply to countries including Brazil, Russia, and Turkey, with Brussels promising to review the epidemiological situation in countries every two weeks to determine if travel is safe. According to EC recommendations, travellers from countries reporting fewer new daily COVID-19 cases over a two week period than the EU-wide average as of June 15 will be allowed in.

    The US diplomatic mission in Europe graciously reacted to the restrictions, issuing a statement Tuesday that the US “appreciate[s] the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic,” and adding that Washington remains “committed to coordinating” with Brussels “as we look forward to reopening our economies and easing restrictions.”

    The restrictions do not apply to citizens of EU member states or their families.

    Along with the extra-territorial visitors issue, travel within the bloc continues to face restrictions, with some nations forcing self-isolation for visitors from other bloc members, and others banning travel from specific nations. The Czech Republic, for example, is not allowing visitors from Portugal or Sweden, while Greek authorities require visitors from a number of countries to be tested upon arrival.

    The EU ‘safe’ list is also only a recommendation, and not legally binding.

    The US leads the world in total COVID-19 cases, with 2.6 million infections reported since the pandemic began. Brazil, Russia, India and the UK round out the top five, with 1.3 million, 647,000, 567,000 and 314,000 cases, respectively. Peru, Chile, Spain and Italy are in the top ten, with between 240,000 and 282,000 cases each, respectively.

    According to data compiled by Statista, in mid-June, Kuwait, Chile, Singapore, Peru, the United States, Belarus, Belgium, Ireland, Spain and Sweden have the highest per capita rates of infection amid nations where sufficient data is available.

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