EU to restrict most US residents from visiting amid pandemic, reports say

Officials draw up ‘safe list’ of countries whose residents can visit, with Russia and Brazil also excluded

The European Union is set to restrict most US residents from visiting the region when travel restarts due to concerns about the coronavirus, according to multiple reports.

EU officials are in the process of settling on a final “safe list” of countries whose residents could travel to the bloc in July, but the US, Brazil and Russia are set to be excluded, Reuters reported. With coronavirus continuing to spread in the US at alarming rates, the possibility of allowing American tourists into the EU is not even part of the ongoing discussion, six diplomats familiar with the talks told the Washington Post.

The list of allowed countries includes China, but on the condition that China allows EU travelers to visit, the New York Times reported.

Various travel restrictions remain around the globe. Greece, for example, requires Covid-19 tests for arrivals from a number of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. Self-isolation is also mandatory until results come in. The Czech Republic has said it will not allow in tourists from Portugal, Sweden and part of Poland.

Ambassadors from the 27 EU members convened beginning on Friday afternoon to establish criteria for granting quarantine-free access from next Wednesday.

A redrawn text of 10-20 countries was put to them, but many said they needed to consult first with their governments, diplomats told Reuters. The list did not include the United States, Brazil or Russia, one diplomat told the news agency. The countries are expected to give informal replies by Saturday evening.

The news comes as the US hit an all-time high for new confirmed Covid-19 cases this week, recording 40,000 on Thursday, according to figures released by Johns Hopkins on Friday. New cases on are on the rise in a majority of states, prompting some governors to backtrack or pause their reopening.

On Friday, the US vice-president, Mike Pence, said the country had made “truly remarkable progress” against the virus, despite the record figures. So far there have been 126,000 deaths from coronavirus in the US, the most of any country.