The European Union has allowed citizens from 14 non-European countries from July 1 which the bloc has deemed 'safe' amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The list includes Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada, Morocco, New Zealand, Thailand, Uruguay, Tunisia, Georgia, Montenegro, Serbia, Algeria, and Rwanda. According to reports, the United States, China, and Brazil are not included in the list, but diplomats from the region say it is ready to exempt Chinese citizens if Beijing offers a reciprocal deal for EU travellers.
The EU Member States on March 17 agreed on a coordinated action based on recommendations by the Commission to restrict all non-essential travels, which was later extended on two occasions. Travel restrictions were put in place with an aim to reduce the number of travellers entering the European Union. The aim is to restrict the spread of the coronavirus and protect public health within the EU, as well as to prevent the virus from spreading from the EU to other countries.
"After 30 June, the restriction should be lifted for countries selected together by the Member States, based on a set of principles and objective criteria including the health situation, the ability to apply containment measures during travel, and reciprocity considerations, taking into account data from relevant sources such as ECDC and WHO," the European Commission said on its website.
European countries were among the hardest-hit by the pandemic with Italy, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom still in the top-10 list of worst-affected nations. Italy and Spain remained topmost affected countries for quite some time before the United States surpassed them to become the worst-hit country in the world. According to figures by Johns Hopkins University, the world has recorded over 10 million coronavirus cases so far, of which more than 5,05,000 people have lost their lives.