European Union considers blocking American travelers due to high coronavirus rates

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February 07 2021 05:30 pm
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As European Union nations continue to ease coronavirus restrictions, the EU is considering recommending that member states block American visitors from visiting their countries due to the surge of coronavirus cases in the US, according to two EU diplomats.

“The criteria will be focused on circulation of the virus,” said one EU diplomat, adding that Brussels is looking to keep out travelers from countries “where the virus is circulating most actively.”

No final decisions have been made and it is ultimately up to individual members to decide who can enter each country.

The New York Times was first to report on the possibility. The EU diplomats had not seen the draft lists of acceptable travelers the Times reported on, but they said they are aware that discussions are ongoing.

Sources told CNN the criteria of countries on being considered for the EU’s travel ban list is being based on a maximum per capita infection rate of 50 people infected per 100,000 residents.

Among the options being discussed is travel restrictions based on US geographic regions, rather than a sweeping ban on the entire country, since some regions have higher infection rates than others, these people said.

The US placed severe travel restrictions on large parts of Europe earlier this year, due to concern over coronavirus spread.

Two European officials said the White House has thus far shown very little interest in engaging on the current issue of European restrictions. “The US travel ban is far more strict, so it’s hard to imagine them putting up a fuss for this, and they haven’t,” a senior European official said.

A second European diplomat said that the travel ban considering has nothing to do with the EO signed by US President Donald Trump this week that freezes visas for foreign workers. “It’s purely based on health considerations,” this person said.

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