- The European Union may ban Americans from traveling to its member states, due to the United States’ handling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the New York Times.
- Visitors from Russia and Brazil would also be banned.
- The US has seen more than 2.3 million cases of the coronavirus and 120,000 deaths.
- This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The European Union is planning to reopen its borders on July 1, allowing some travelers in for the first time since it closed them as the coronavirus pandemic began to grow in March.
However, Americans might not be welcome.
The EU is considering blocking Americans from entering the bloc because the United States has not adequately controlled the spread of the virus, according to a report from the New York Times, which viewed two drafts of a list defining which travelers would be allowed and which would be barred.
Travelers from Russia and Brazil are among those who would be blocked from entering EU countries, according to the draft lists.
The move would be a major blow to America’s prestige and world image, despite claims from the Trump administration that the virus is under control. The US has had more than 2.3 million cases and 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.
In early March, the Trump administration barred European travelers from entering the US, citing outbreaks of the virus in northern Italy, Germany, and elsewhere in the European Union. However, the prohibition was never lifted even as Europe has largely contained the outbreak.
The European border closure, which came later in March, applied to visitors from most countries outside the bloc, not specifically Americans. However, the new ban, expected to be announced before the EU begins to reopen its borders on July 1, calls out several countries that have handled the virus poorly and seen increases in cases.
Countries identified as safe on the draft lists were selected based on several objective criteria, according to the Times report. The primary benchmark is the EU’s average number of new infections per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. For the EU, that number is 16.
The US, on the other hand, has a comparable number of 107. Brazil’s is 190, and Russia’s is 80, according to the Times.
Prohibiting Americans would have significant consequences for the EU. Millions of American tourists visit countries in the bloc each year. As travel demand begins to recover and Americans seek to travel abroad again, and as economies normally reliant on tourism seek to curb the fallout caused by the pandemic, the exclusion of a large and lucrative group of tourists would be damaging.
Similarly, European leisure travelers spend millions in the US each year. The US could leave its ban on Europeans in place as retaliation.
Business travelers often travel between the countries as well. However, corporate travel has been slower to recover after coming to a halt during the pandemic.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.