COVID-19: ‘Do not enter’, European Union bans US-based travellers

* Nigerians, others also excluded from list of travellers to Europe

*Asylum seekers, diplomats, healthcare workers, humanitarian workers, students, others granted access to come in

* This is unwelcome news, decision is a step in the wrong direction, says US group

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

As the Union has barred other foreign nationals recently, the age-long aphoristic saying, that “what’s is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander” better explains the way the European Union (EU) says the clock also is ticking fast for Americans who want to fly to Europe.

The European Union (EU) in a statement discloses that it is closing its borders to all United States-based travellers effective Wednesday, July 1, 2020.

The EU has decided that the US is being a little too freewheeling when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic, so it established a new policy to protect the people within its borders, according to the report.

The US isn’t the only country being kept out; Russian, Brazilian, Nigerian and other nations’ citizens are also on the do-not-enter list.

The safe list of 15 nations that EU countries have signed off on includes Australia, Canada, Japan, and New Zealand.

According to the EU, travellers from China would be allowed in if the country offers the same in return.

A little wrinkle in the policy is that the EU will take into account a traveller’s country of residence, not of citizenship, noted the report.

This means that if a citizen of Spain happens to be living in Chicago, he or she will be treated the same as anyone else living in the United States.

However, there are some marked exceptions. They include anyone from a country outside the safe list who meets one of the following descriptions such as an asylum seeker, diplomat, and a foreign worker whose employment in Europe qualifies as essential.

Others excluded are healthcare worker, humanitarian worker, someone travelling for “imperative family reasons” as well as students.

The EU said that its list is not etched in stone and that its list of countries will be reviewed every two weeks.

According to the Union, “travel restrictions may be totally or partially lifted or reintroduced for a specific third country already listed according to changes in some of the conditions and, as a consequence, in the assessment of the epidemiological situation.

“If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied.”

ConsumerConnect recalls that the European Union Commission has excluded Nigerians from the list of countries whose nationals will be allowed in the region when the borders are open from July 1.

Sources said the European countries had shut their borders when the COVID-19 pandemic spread into the region.

With the easing of lockdown restrictions, the EU had released a draft list of 54 countries that will be granted entry into the borders.

An update list of the countries to Europe includes Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, and New Zealand.

Others are Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and China.

On June 11, the European Commission had asked its member to extend the entry ban on third-country nationals until June 30.

The United States, Brazil, and Russia were also exempted from the approved list.

Eric Mamer, Spokesperson for the EU Commission, had stated that the criteria used to select the countries were based on their health situation.

“The European Union has an internal process to determine from which countries it would be safe to accept travellers,” said Mamer.

But, as regards the potential economic impact of the move, it was learnt that the decision is a rather delicate dance for the EU.

Since the Coronavirus took over everyone’s life, it created a can of worms for the coalition of countries.

In normal times, its 27-member states are free to travel and trade, much like we can go state-to-state in the US.

But, as the pandemic started crossing borders within the bloc, individual countries created policies of their own which didn’t always jive with the policies other members were creating.

The EU made it clear it wants to get back to that same level of reciprocity it enjoyed prior to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, US officials have voiced their extreme disappointment with the EU’s decision.

Tori Emerson Barnes, the US Travel Association Executive Vice-President for Public Affairs and Policy, said that the travel ban will likely result in a stalled economic recovery.

Barnes said: “The EU’s announcement is incredibly disappointing, and a step in the wrong direction as we seek to rebuild our global economy.

“In the US alone, travel-related jobs account for more than a third of lost employment due to the fallout of the pandemic.

“Health is paramount, and the public has a major role to play by embracing best practices such as wearing masks, but we are at a stage when it should be possible to make progress.”

“This is unwelcome news, and will have major negative implications for an economic recovery, particularly if this ban results in cycles of retaliation, as is so often the case,” Barnes concluded.

Kindly Share This Story