According to a statement issued by the European Council on Thursday, the European Union has revised the list of safe travel countries to 11 non-member countries following the de-listing of Algeria.
The EU said it would gradually lift travel restrictions at external borders for people in Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The United States remains on the list of restricted countries, and China is still awaiting approval on the basis of reciprocity.
“The criteria for determining the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted include in particular the epidemiological situation and measures to prevent proliferation, including physical distances, as well as economic and social aspects. They apply cumulatively, “the statement said. “Reciprocity should also be taken into account on a regular and case-by-case basis.”
The statement added that, in order to be considered safe, non-EU countries must have a number of coronavirus cases per 100,000 population close to or below the EU average over the last 14 days, as well as a stable or declining trend in new cases over the period in compared to the previous 14 days.
The EU also takes into account the “overall response of other countries to COVID-19”, including whether they have put in place reliable coronavirus testing, surveillance, contact tracing, detention, treatment and reporting.
In countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, there are exceptions for EU citizens, long-term EU residents, families of EU citizens and citizens, and “passengers with a basic function or need”.
The European Council stated that it would continue to regularly review the list of safe travel countries, adding: “Travel restrictions may be lifted in whole or in part or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed due to changes in certain conditions and therefore” If the situation in the listed third country deteriorates rapidly, rapid decision-making should apply. “
However, it is up to the EU Member States to decide exactly how to implement any changes in border policy.