Americans to remain barred from European travel

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American Air staff stands among empty ticketing kiosks at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, on Friday, May 22, 2020.

Irfan Khan | Getty Images

Travelers from a list of 15 nations will be allowed entry to the European Union starting Wednesday, but the United States is not on the list.

Thirty countries in Europe (26 of which are members of the EU) closed their external borders in March to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. As most of them reopen their economies, they are also starting to welcome external visitors — though at a much slower rate than before the pandemic.

European Union governments decided Tuesday to open their external borders to Algeria, Tunisia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. Chinese travelers will also be allowed in the EU, but only if China announces that it will also accept European visitors.

The decision was taken based on the health situation of the countries of origin and will be reviewed on a regular basis.

However, it is non-binding, meaning that EU member states can reopen their borders to whichever countries they want. The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, has insisted that external borders should be reopened in a coordinated way to avoid any travel chaos, but ultimately it is a national decision. 

The United States currently has the highest number of coronavirus infections — nearly 2.6 million — in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has set records for daily new infections in recent days as outbreaks surge mostly across the South and West. Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday that the virus is spreading too rapidly and too broadly for the U.S. to bring it under control.

In March, President Donald Trump suspended travel from Europe into the United States. At the time, the EU criticized the decision for being taken “unilaterally and without consultation.”

—CNBC’s William Feuer contributed to this article. 

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