European Union countries have reached an agreement to ease entry restrictions for travelers from the United States and seven other nations and territories, officials said on Wednesday.
The white list, which allows non-essential travel from outside the bloc, would now be extended to include Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Lebanon, the United States, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong.
The change means that people from these countries should find it easier to enter the EU. However, it will still be up to each member state to decide whether to impose additional requirements, such as a negative COVID test or a mandatory quarantine period.
When will the change take effect?
Wednesday’s decision is expected to be officially adopted by the end of the week, according to a spokesperson for the Portuguese EU presidency as quoted by German news agency dpa.
It was not clear when the relaxed travel rules would take effect.
All 27 EU member states except Ireland have banned non-essential travel at the start of the pandemic in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Iceland, non-EU countries, also took part in the ban.
What other countries are on the EU list?
The EU’s white list already includes Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand.
Countries can be added if they have recorded less than 75 cases of COVID per 100,000 population in the last 14 days.
According to figures from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate is currently 73.9 in the United States.
nm / rt (AFP, dpa, Reuters)