On Wednesday, ambassadors from countries in the European Union (EU) said that America could be added to the list of countries that would be allowed to the bloc as it is safe from an epidemiological viewpoint, according to an official. It would come into effect as soon as a formal decision is adopted and is expected to be put in place by Friday. This would mean that U.S. travelers could possibly visit all 27 countries in the EU.
When countries are put on a safe list, all residents from the country can travel without further restrictions, irrespective of their vaccinated status. The European Commission, which is the executive arm of the European Union, has recommended a PCR test for travelers. However, countries in the bloc can frame their own set of specific rules or quarantine regulations.
Last year, there was almost no travel within and outside the block to limit the already widespread coronavirus. Tourism was highly impacted as a result of the pandemic. COVID-19 not only killed citizens but also brought a lot of economic ruin to countries in the bloc that are heavily dependent on revenues from tourist inflows.
A few countries have been a part of the list as they had met criteria such as low infection rates, general response to COVID-19 and the number of tests performed. The list got updated as countries improved the methods by which they handled the spread and containment of the pandemic.
The European Union has provided guidelines and recommendations on health policies. However, individual countries have the right to tinker with the guidelines to suit their needs. They can also add more stringent measures including vaccinations, test results or other requirements, if they wish or they could also loosen the guidelines. Spain and Greece have been opening to select travelers from March itself.
The EU has also begun a system of a joint digital travel certificate that could be used across the countries in the bloc. Some of the countries who have started implementing it include
- The Czech Republic
It is expected to be universally adopted by the bloc on July 1. This will make it easy for travelers and tourist to visit countries in the EU without having to undergo extra quarantine, tests, or procedures as they enter each new country which is a part of the EU.