Wednesday 24 June 2020 7:41 am

EU prepares ban on US travellers over high coronavirus case count

The EU is said to be ready to issue a travel ban on US citizens and travellers from other countries, due to their high coronavirus infection rates.

Documents seen by the New York Times showed American, Russian and Brazilian visitors to the EU would be unwelcome as their governments’ fail to control the virus’ spread.

Visitors from China and developing nations such as Uganda, Vietnam and Cuba, would also be subject to the EU travel ban alongside the US.

Though visitors from the US and other nations are currently barred from the EU except for essential travel, the bloc must make a final decision on a ban before its borders reopen on 1 July.

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US President Donald Trump banned all visitors from the EU and other countries to American soil in March. He cited concerns about the spread of the virus.

That was back when the US had just over 1,000 coronavirus cases and 38 deaths.

The US is now the worst affected country by coronavirus, with more than 2.3m cases recorded and over 120,000 deaths.

EU officials told the New York Times it was highly unlikely an exception would be made for the US. That is despite its significant contribution to the European tourism and business travel industries which would be helpful in getting the bloc back on track.

Travel within the bloc has already begun to reopen, with some countries permitting visitors from certain countries or establishing safe travel bridges with quarantine measures in order to revive their failing economies.

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Once EU officials agree a final travel ban list, they will present it to the bloc for a vote to be introduced before 1 July.

Two lists are currently in circulation among diplomats with different criteria for acceptance, the newspaper reported.

One contains 47 countries and includes only those with an infection rate lower than the EU average, while the other list has 54 countries and also includes those nations with slightly worse case rates than the EU average.

A spokesperson for the European Commission said the discussions are ongoing, with a view to agreeing on a common list by 1 July. A meeting regarding the list is due to be attended by representatives from EU member states today.