EU's external borders will remain closed to most foreigners

Only 14 countries made it onto the list of states that will be allowed into the EU beyond July 1. The European Union will, however, continue to ban travellers from the United States, Russia, Brazil and most other countries, EU diplomats told dpa. Chinese citizens will be allowed in principle - but only once China lifts its ban on EU citizens.

An official announcement is expected on Tuesday. But the European Council on Monday began the formal procedure to officially adopt the agreement, according to dpa's sources. According to them the countries that will see restrictions lifted as of July 1 are Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, Canada, Morocco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Nevertheless, the list will be re-evaluated every two weeks, with the criteria based on the epidemiological factors, suggested by the European Commission on Thursday last week. This means that for restrictions to be lifted, the number of new infections over the past two weeks should be "close to or under" 16 per 100,000 people, which is the EU average. The decision on which countries to ease the restrictions for will also take into account how governments responded to the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement comes three months after the EU - plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein - closed its external borders to all non-essential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic. An exception is Ireland, which did not implement the EU's non-binding external travel ban because of its travel agreement with non-EU member Britain.

Under the ongoing travel restrictions, entry to EU countries is only granted in exceptions, such as for long-term EU residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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