ES News email

The European Union has decided to keep its borders closed to American travellers as the US battles a rising Covid-19 infection rate.

The European Council said in a statement that 14 countries have been approved in a “safe” list to fly to Europe for business or leisure from Wednesday.

The countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

China has also been provisionally approved, although travel would only open up if Chinese authorities allowed EU visitors in a reciprocity deal.

Only 14 countries have been approved as safe (PA)

Russia, Brazil and Turkey, along with the US, are among countries whose containment of the virus is considered worse than that of the EU average and so will have to wait at least two weeks for the green light.

The bloc said it will carry out fortnightly reviews.

The move is aimed at supporting the EU travel industry and tourist destinations, particularly countries in southern Europe hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It acts as a recommendation to EU members, meaning they could potentially set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations and will almost certainly not allow access to travellers from other countries.

The EU’s efforts to reopen internal borders, particularly among the 26-nation Schengen area which normally has no frontier checks, have been patchy as various countries have restricted access for certain visitors.

Greece is mandating Covid-19 tests for arrivals from a range of EU countries, including France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, with self-isolation until results are known.

The Czech Republic is not allowing in tourists from Portugal and Sweden.

British residents can also travel to many EU countries, although non-essential travellers to Britain are required to self-isolate for 14 days.