After the initial travel ban exemption list for travelers into the European Union (EU) was created on July 1, where the U.S. was left out, the first extension of the EU travel ban to US travelers came on July 16, when the EU conducted its first fortnightly review. As of this Thursday, July 30, the US has once again been left out of the approved list of countries from which international travelers can enter the European Economic Area (EEA).
The EU’s simple criterion for putting countries on the travel ban exemption list was that the country in question must match the EU in terms of being able to control the spread of COVID-19 infections. The U.S. has been unable to do that through the month of July as cases have started rising again in several states.
As of July 30, the countries from which traveling to EU states is allowed are Australia, Canada, China (subject to China opening up entry to EU nationals), Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay.
EU citizens are already allowed to enter if they were overseas when the travel restrictions first began, as are their family members and other essential travelers.
According to reports from the New York Times, the EU had an average COVID-19 infection rate of 16 people per 100,000 as of June; in contrast, the United States had an average of 107 per 100,000.
The U.S. is still a major hotbed for the novel coronavirus, as the lack of federal guidance and the virtual absence of any leadership at the highest levels has left the states to fend for themselves. State governors have been struggling against a growing number of protests against stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing, social distancing, and other forms of restrictions intended to control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Counterintuitively, President Trump himself, in April, appeared to instigate protestors:
“In a series of all-caps tweets that started two minutes after a Fox News report on the protesters, the president declared, “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” — two states whose Democratic governors have imposed strict social distancing restrictions. He also lashed out at Virginia, where the state’s Democratic governor and legislature have pushed for strict gun control measures, saying: “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”
If the situation persists, there’s no doubt the EU will continue to leave the United States out of the approved list when it reviews its travel ban exemption list again in a fortnight from July 30.
As of July 30, these are the shocking statistics for the damage that the novel coronavirus has caused in the U.S.:
Total Cases: 4.5 million
Total Deaths: 152,000
The map below shows where the spread is on the rise, where it is plateauing, and where it is reducing.
As you can see, apart from the 10 states marked in green, the rest of the U.S. is seeing fortnight-over-fortnight increases in daily infection rates.
In the short term, it seems improbable that the U.S. will be able to show infection metrics to match those of the EU, thereby allowing regulators to add America to the list of countries from which entry into its ports is allowed. For now, the status quo on the travel ban is being maintained for a further two weeks.