When Will Europe Be Open For Travel Again? For the US, Not For a While

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On July 1, the European Union opened its external borders to nonessential non-EU passport holders for the first time since mid-March, which is when the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first started ravaging the continent. Ambassadors from the 27 members states decided to lift its travel ban for residents of 15 countries, based on which countries have brought the coronavirus outbreak under control. Unfortunately, as the US currently has the highest number of confirmed infections and the highest number of deaths caused by COVID-19 of any country in the world, Americans (as well as Russians and Brazilians) likely won’t be welcome in Europe anytime soon.

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The EU is expected to revisit its list of allowed and banned countries every two weeks, but you probably shouldn’t start packing your bags for a Euro trip just yet. Two EU diplomats recently told CNN that a dramatic turnaround in the US’s infection rate would be required before entry is allowed, which may not be for a while, as the coronavirus is currently resurging in the US. As The New York Times reported, countries allowed in the EU must have the same (or fewer) average number of new infections as the EU over the past 14 days, which was 16 per 100,000 people in mid-June for the bloc. In the US, the average in mid-June was 107 new cases per 100,000 people.

This decision wasn’t one made lightly, as several EU countries benefit from American tourism. According to the US Commerce Department data, over 6.7 million Americans traveled to Europe between the months of June and August in 2019. It was ultimately decided, however, that the economic benefits of allowing American tourists into Europe don’t outweigh the health threat. Your European excursion will just have to be postponed until the US is able to control the spread of COVID-19.

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