EU Reopens Its Borders to 14 Nations But Not to U.S., Israeli Tourists

BRUSSELS (AP) -
Polish border guards stand on the Bridge of Friendship on the Polish border before Zgorzelec and check with a thermometer the body temperature of drivers coming from Goerlitz, Germany to Poland, June 9. (Sebastian Kahnert/dpa via AP)

The European Union announced Tuesday that it will reopen its borders to travelers from 14 countries, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S.

Travelers from other big countries like Russia, Brazil and India will also miss out. Israel also didn’t make it to the list, following the recent spike in new cases in Israel.

Citizens from the following countries will be allowed into the EU’s 27 members and four other nations in Europe’s visa-free Schengen travel zone: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The EU said China is “subject to confirmation of reciprocity,” meaning it must lift all restrictions on European citizens entering China before it will allow Chinese citizens back in.

Countries considered for the safe list are also expected to lift any bans they might have in place on European travelers.

In March, President Donald Trump suspended all people from Europe’s ID check-free travel zone from entering the U.S., making it unlikely now that U.S. citizens would qualify to enter the EU.

The EU imposed restrictions in March on nonessential travel to its 27 nations, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, which are part of the Schengen open-borders area, to halt the spread of the virus. Non-EU citizens who are already living in Europe are not included in the ban.

More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe annually, and any delay would be a further blow to virus-ravaged economies and tourism sectors on both sides of the Atlantic. Around 10 million Europeans are thought to cross the Atlantic for vacations and business each year.

Tuesday’s decree will not apply to travel to Britain, which left the EU in January. Britain now requires all incoming travelers — bar a few exceptions like truck drivers — to go into a self-imposed 14-day quarantine, although the measure is under review and is likely to ease in the coming weeks. The requirement also applies to U.K. citizens.