European Union reopening its borders after coronavirus lockdowns, but not to Americans

The European Union is set to reopen its borders to visitors from more than a dozen countries, but not to Americans. While most of Europe has successfully reduced new cases of the coronavirus, America’s numbers continue to climb.

In Greece, the modern economy depends on tourists, but people coming from the United States are deemed too high risk. There are simply too many new infections every day in America, Health Minister Vassilis Kikilias told CBS News foreign correspondent Holly Williams.

“We’re hoping that the situation is going to be better in a few days or weeks, so this can change,” Kikilias said. “It’s something that everybody can understand. It’s logical.”

The number of new confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. was at an all-time high on Friday with more than 45,000 cases reported, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 41,000 new cases on Monday.

The Greek authorities will do thousands of random tests every day at airports and border crossings, and testing teams have even been sent to far-flung islands. 

Greece has had remarkable success in combating the coronavirus, and it doesn’t want to jeopardize it. Around 200 people have died from COVID-19 in Greece, which is about 20 lives lost per 1 million people. In the U.S., around 400 lives lost per 1 million people have been lost.

Dr. Eleni Kakalou, who treats COVID-19 patients in Greece, said her advice on staying safe this summer is clear.

“As a health official, I would consider that the best thing everybody should do would be no international travel at all for this year,” she said.

© 2020 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.