European Council Starts Lifting Travel Restrictions for Residents of Some Third Countries
The Council of the European Union has just released the list of the countries for which member states should start lifting the non-essential travel restrictions at the external borders.
The complete list:
• New Zealand
• South Korea
• China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
The following criteria were used to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted.
They cover in particular “the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations”:
Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:
• number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
• stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
• overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
Reciprocity should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis.
For countries where travel restrictions continue to apply, the following categories of people should be exempted from the restrictions:
• EU citizens and their family members
• Long-term EU residents and their family members
• Travelers with an essential function or need, as listed in the Recommendation.
Schengen associated countries (Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway, Switzerland) also take part in this recommendation.
The Council adds: “This list of third countries should be reviewed every two weeks and may be updated by the Council, as the case may be, after close consultations with the Commission and the relevant EU agencies and services following an overall assessment based on the criteria above.”
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