EU prepared to block American travellers as US virus cases surge

US banned most EU citizens back in March, now the EU is pondering blocking US visitors, the New York Times reported.

Visitors wear face masks at the Musee d'Orsay as it reopened its doors to the public on Tuesday in Paris, France, which along with other EU members has brought its infections under control and plans to welcome international visitors again for the European summer [Charles Platiau/Reuters]
Visitors wear face masks at the Musee d'Orsay as it reopened its doors to the public on Tuesday in Paris, France, which along with other EU members has brought its infections under control and plans to welcome international visitors again for the European summer [Charles Platiau/Reuters]

European Union countries eager to revive their economies are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reported from Brussels on Tuesday, citing draft lists of acceptable travellers.

The US, which has the most coronavirus cases in the world and is experiencing a surge in new infections, would be in the same category as the number two coronavirus hot spot Brazil and Russia, according to the Times, citing the proposal.

There was no immediate comment from the White House.

Such a ban on US travellers would be a blow to US President Donald Trump, who has blamed more testing for the rise in cases. The pandemic has killed more than 120,000 people in the US. 

Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease official, said on Tuesday that he was seeing a disturbing surge in several states and pointed to community spread as one reason infections were rising.

In March, when cases were rising in Europe, Trump banned most EU citizens from entering the US in a bid to curb the outbreak, angering EU officials.

In January, Trump banned entry to the US of any foreign national who had recently visited China, where the outbreak started late last year.

Once the epicentre of the global outbreak, Europe has brought its infections under control. It has been lifting restrictions and plans to welcome international visitors again in July.

Earlier this month, EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said the list of countries with allowed visitors would be based on three criteria: countries should have COVID-19 under at least as much control as the EU average, have containment measures during travel and also be willing to let in EU visitors.

Source: Reuters

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