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EU to Recommend Reinstating Restrictions on US Travelers

August 30, 2021by Samuel Petrequin, Associated Press
In this Friday, July 16, 2021 photo, visitors enjoy the view from top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. The European Union is expected to recommend that its member states reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infection levels in the country, EU diplomats said Monday, Aug. 30. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union plans to recommend that its 27 nations reinstate restrictions on tourists from the U.S. because of rising coronavirus infection levels there, EU diplomats said Monday.

A decision to remove the U.S. from a safe list of countries for nonessential travel would reverse advice from June, when the bloc recommended lifting restrictions on U.S. travelers before the summer tourism season.

The guidance could come as early as this week, according to the EU diplomats. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the review process was still ongoing. 

Any decision would be nonbinding, however. The EU has no unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national governments have the authority to decide whether they keep their borders open to U.S. tourists. Possible restrictions could include quarantines, further testing requirements upon arrival or even a total ban on all non-essential travel from the US. 

The United States has yet to reopen its own borders to EU tourists, despite calls from the bloc for the Biden administration to lift its ban.

The European Council updates the list based on criteria relating to coronavirus infection levels. It gets reviewed every two weeks. The threshold for being on the EU list is having not more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.

Last week in the U.S. new cases averaged over 152,000 a day, turning the clock back to the end of January, and the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients was around 85,000, a number not seen since early February. 

U.S. coronavirus deaths have been over 1,200 a day for several days, seven times higher than they were in early July. 

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