Coronavirus: EU to allow visitors from 14 ‘safe’ countries2 min read

By- Azra Rizvi

The European Union (EU) has named 14 countries from which citizens will be deemed to be ‘safe’ to be allowed in from July 1, despite the coronavirus pandemic. However, the US, Brazil and China are not on the list.

The countries mentioned in the list include Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco and South Korea.

Diplomats have said that the European Union is ready to include China in the list if the Chinese government offers a reciprocal deal for EU travellers, the BBC reported.

The EU border restrictions have been ended for EU citizens travelling inside the bloc whereas rules for UK travellers are described separately in the Brexit negotiations.

Nationals of the UK would still be treated in the same way as EU citizens until the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. Hence, UK nationals and their family members would be spared from the temporary travel restriction during that time.

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The present “safe” list which is still likely to be amended consists of Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

“Air bridges” are currently being negotiated by the UK with various EU member states so that coronavirus does not completely halt summer holidays which is the busiest season in Europe for tourism, which employs millions of people.

Under the government’s “air-bridges” scheme, passengers travelling between the UK and some countries will no longer have to quarantine. Currently, the majority of the people entering the UK have to quarantine for two weeks, however, the new rules will make travel easier.

On Tuesday by midday, the EU procedure to formalise the list, and criteria by which countries are determined safe or not, are to be finalised.

A qualified majority of EU countries which is at least 55% of the EU countries which represent 65% of the EU population have signed off on the list. There were divisions between those like Spain which wanted the boost of tourism, however, preferred to play safe as they have been struck so hard by Covid-19 and others like Greece and Portugal, which depend on tourism but are less damaged by the virus.