An EU official quoted by both Reuters and Bloomberg said that the EU would reassess whether to reimpose travel restrictions on the one-way travel corridor with the U.S. this week.
The EU currently welcomes 23 “safe” third-party countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, since they have (or had) demonstrated strong capacity to maintain their COVID-19 figures low.
The main criteria for being considered a “safe” nation is having fewer than 75 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, which is not the case of the United States.
The U.S. is currently reporting 270 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a trend that has dramatically increased over the last 14 days.
Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed discontent over the fact that Washington has refused to reopen borders to the bloc.
“We are in contact with our American friends to solve this problem as soon as possible,” she told the German media RND on Wednesday. “The situation can no longer drag on for weeks.”
She is not the only EU official bothered by the situation. Also last week, a spokesperson for the Slovenian EU presidency “encouraged” the U.S. to reopen its borders following the demands of multiple EU leaders.
“Many representatives of the EU member states and of the EU have spoken to our U.S. counterparts about the plans to reopen for EU countries, in particular after Europe’s step to allow the U.S. citizens to travel, (…) so we keep reminding, asking and encouraging our U.S. friends to follow suit,” the spokesperson said.
The problem is that even if the U.S. decided to reopen to EU travelers, the current epidemiology situation would stand in the middle of the path.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, the average daily Covid-19 cases has been more than 107,100 over the last 7 days, — the highest since January 2021.
Florida continues to lead children and adult hospitalizations for COVID-19 and Louisiana currently has 2,421 patients in hospital including 277 on ventilators.
Last week, Arkansas reported that only 25 ICU beds are left across the state, and in Texas, Judge Lina Hidalgo said the state is heading once again “toward a public health catastrophe.”
Although the U.S. has breached the threshold to be able to travel for leisure, removing the country from the list would require approval by a qualified majority of the 27 member states. We’ll see.