US tourists face travel ban when EU reopens borders

American tourists may be barred from Europe when EU reopens to outside world.

US travellers look set to be denied entry to the EU when the European bloc reopens its borders on 1 July, according to draft lists of countries seen by The New York Times.

The travel ban - apparently in response to the failure of the US to contain the coronavirus pandemic - would place the US in the same bracket as hard-hit countries Brazil and Russia, reports The New York Times.

The EU is reportedly drawing up lists of "acceptable" countries, based on how well they are faring in handling the covid-19 pandemic, with the final list expected to be announced shortly.

Brazil, India, Mexico and Russia also face the prospect that their citizens will remain barred from the European bloc which includes EU member states along with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and the UK.

Countries identified as “safe” on draft lists seen by The New York Times were chosen based on several criteria including a benchmark of 16 or lower infections per 100,000 people over the last two weeks.

The average number of new infections in the EU over the last two weeks stands at 16 per 100,000 - reports The New York Times - whereas the figure in the US is 107.

International media is reporting that around 50 countries are likely to be told that their nationals will be admitted to the EU. These nations are expected to include Australia and New Zealand as well as - possibly - China.

A ban on travellers from the US would also be seen as a rebuke to Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and would have significant economic consequences for the EU.

In March, when cases were rising in Europe, Trump angered Brussels by banning most EU citizens from entering the US in a bid to curb the outbreak there.

Since then the US has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and over 120,000 deaths - more than any country in the world - and is currently experiencing a surge in new infections.

There was no immediate comment from the White House about the reported travel ban.