EU countries will soon allow fully vaccinated travellers from across the US and several “safe” countries to visit.
All 27 member states agreed on Wednesday to the easing of travel restrictions for the EU, following a year of severe entry restrictions.
It will be the first time US travellers will be allowed to enter the EU after the worldwide outbreak of Covid, although only for those with full vaccinations.
It will not allow entry for travellers with vaccines not approved by EU regulators — including those of Russia and China.
A list of “safe” countries is expected within days, with entry restrictions easing for countries with 75 new Covid cases per 100,000 people in the past fortnight.
After an agreement among EU ambassadors, EU ministers will sign off on the plans on Thursday, with the list to be updated every two weeks.
Previously, countries with with no more than 25 new Covid cases per 100,000 people in the past fortnight were allowed to enter EU states.
This included seven countries, whose citizens were allowed to enter the EU on holiday, regardless of whether they were fully vaccinated.
If the US is not on the EU’s initial “safe” list, fully vaccinated US citizens will be able to enter the block for the first time in over a year.
It will mark the resumption of cross-Atlantic travel and a summer tourist season in the EU for Americans – 37.5 per cent of whom are fully vaccinated from Covid, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the US State Department’s website, most of Europe remains under a “Do Not Travel Advisory”, but that could change after Wednesday’s agreement among EU member states.
To date, 16 per cent of EU citizens are fully vaccinated, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
In a statement to The Independent, the US State Department said it was “in close contact with our foreign counterparts and we are continuously adapting to evolving conditions.”
“We appreciate the transparency and concerted efforts of our European partners and allies to combat this pandemic, [and] we look forward to the resumption of transatlantic travel as soon as our medical and public health professionals advise.”
It added: “We are closely monitoring health and safety conditions across the globe, and will continue to update our destination-specific information for US travellers as conditions evolve.”
Additional reporting by Reuters.
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