US travellers coming to the EU face higher chances of being asked to quarantine upon arrival due to an increase in coronavirus infections in America.
EU states provisionally decided to remove America from a ‘white list’ of 23 countries for which “travel restrictions should be lifted” on Friday (27 August), diplomatic sources told EUobserver.
The decision will be made public on Monday afternoon, unless one or other EU state objects to it by then.
It was taken due to the latest Covid-19 figures, one diplomat said, not because of lack of reciprocity (the US has maintained its curbs for European travellers all summer).
And the new recommendation will also see Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, and North Macedonia taken off the EU white list, diplomats added.
The EU recommendation is non-binding on individual member states.
And despite Europe’s efforts to coordinate policy, the net result is a patchwork of rules.
Most EU states currently require US travellers to get a negative test result before travelling unless they have been fully vaccinated, but Lithuania and Malta, for instance, do not ask for any tests.
The majority of EU countries do not require Americans to quarantine upon arrival – the biggest bar to tourism.
But Belgium, Ireland, and Poland do ask tourists to self-isolate for differing amounts of time despite America’s previous white-list status.
The US currently has the highest number in the world of coronavirus infections recorded over the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins University.
It is also classed as a red zone, the second most risky colour after dark red, by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, an EU agency in Sweden, because it has 480 or more infections per 100,000 people.
The trend is part of a global fourth wave of the pandemic which began in summer.
And several EU states with big tourism industries – Greece, France, Portugal, and Spain, as well as parts of Italy – have also reverted to red-colour status.
Cyprus and parts of Belgium, Greece, France, and Italy have turned dark red (more than 960 cases per 100,000).