European Union Removes the U.S. from Its 'Safe' Travel List Amid Surge in American Covid Cases

The U.S. is one of five countries that have been removed from the list

Memorial Day weekend travelers at LAX
Photo: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty

The European Union is planning on halting nonessential travel from the United States due to the country's surge in cases of COVID-19 and the delta variant.

On Monday, the European Council announced its recommendation for the U.S. to be taken off the "safe list" for travel and to reinstate restrictions for U.S. travelers following a decision from its 27 member countries. Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia have also been removed from the list.

"Non-essential travel to the EU from countries or entities not listed in Annex I is subject to temporary travel restriction," a statement from the council reads. "This is without prejudice to the possibility for member states to lift the temporary restriction on non-essential travel to the EU for fully vaccinated travellers."

In May, the EU first agreed on easing travel restrictions for U.S. residents ahead of the summer. Now, U.S. travelers could face restrictions again, including requirements for proof of negative COVID tests and required self-isolation for those approved as traveling for "essential" reasons.

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As of now, the restrictions will be up to each individual country to enforce. However, the European Council's official website states that countries shouldn't be on the "safe list" if they are experiencing more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days.

With the delta variant driving nearly all COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and just 52% of the country fully vaccinated, cases have soared upwards to around 150,000 per day. Hospitalizations and deaths are also up significantly, with more than 100,000 Americans in hospitals with COVID-19 and an average of nearly 1,300 people dying from the virus per day, according to The New York Times.

Following Monday's announcement, an EU diplomat told the Washington Post that travel restrictions "can vary from state to state, but it is widely expected that fully vaccinated Americans would still maintain unfettered access" to the European Union.

The U.S. has also continued its travel restrictions on EU tourists. Because it is no longer part of the EU, Britain has its own set of rules regarding travel amid the pandemic. The U.S. is currently on the "amber" list, allowing fully vaccinated travelers to visit the U.K.

The European Council stated that it will continue to review and update the "safe list." The full list of countries that made the cut can be found in a press release from the EU.

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