The European Union has revised the list of safe travel countries to 11 non-member states after dropping Algeria from the list, according to a European Council Statement released Thursday.
The EU will gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay, according to the statement.
The United States remains on the list of restricted nations, and China is still pending approval based on reciprocity.
“The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively,” the statement said. “Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.”
The statement added that in order to be considered safe for travel, non-EU nations must have coronavirus case numbers per 100,000 inhabitants that are close to or below the EU average over the last 14 days, as well as a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over that period in comparison to the previous 14 days.
The EU is also taking into account other nations’ “overall response to COVID-19,” including whether they have implemented reliable coronavirus testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting.
In nations where travel restrictions continue to apply, there are exemptions for EU citizens, long-term EU residents, families of EU residents and citizens, and “travelers with an essential function or need.”
The European Council said it will continue to regularly review the list of safe travel countries, adding, “Travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation. If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied.”
However, it remains up to EU member states to decide exactly how they implement any changes in border policy.