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US Citizens Likely to be Left Out as Europe Reopens Borders

Checks at the Italian-Swiss border in Chiasso
Checks at the Italian-Swiss border in Chiasso
US Citizens Likely to be Left Out as Europe Reopens Borders
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The European Union is set to reopen borders among its members countries by the first of July. They closed in March in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

EU plans to reopen to the wider world, however, are under discussion right now in Brussels.

As of now, Americans are likely to remain barred from entry because of the growing coronavirus infection rate in the United States.

On June 11, the European Commission said "travel restrictions should not be lifted” for countries where the spread of the coronavirus is worse than the average EU member plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

In the U.S., new coronavirus infections have risen to the highest level in two months, based on numbers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

The U.S. on Tuesday reported 34,700 new cases of the virus, bringing its total number of cases to close to 2.4 million, the most in the world. The U.S. has also had more deaths from COVID-19 than any other nation, at more than 121,000.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he is working with Europeans and others on how to reopen.

He said, “We’re working on finding the right way to do that, the right timing to do it, and the right tactics to have in place.”

Brazil, India and Russia are also seeing very high numbers of COVID cases. Their citizens are expected to remain banned from travel to EU countries.

The COVID-19 spread has slowed greatly across the EU, especially in the 26 countries that make up Europe's visa-free Schengen Area. Each year, more than 15 million Americans visit there, traveling from one country to another without stopping to show a passport.

EU leadership plans to open to outside countries based on several measures, including the number of new infections per 100,000 in population. The EU will also look at national COVID control efforts like testing, treatment and reporting actions. EU officials say the opening process needs to be coordinated to permit visa-free passage between member countries. The EU will reconsider the list of acceptable countries every two weeks.

And the EU suggested it would not be likely to reopen its borders to countries that have not reopened to E-U members.

On March 11, American President Donald Trump barred travel to the U.S. from the Schengen Area. More than 10 million Europeans visit the United States each year.

Trump said in a statement, "Transmission of the virus by infected individuals seeking to enter the United States from the Schengen Area threatens the security of our transportation system and infrastructure and the national security."

I’m Susan Shand.

The Associated Press reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.


Words in This Story

tactic - n. a planned approach to doing something

coordinate - v. working with another person or entity

transmission – n. to send something

infrastructure – n. the buildings, roads, bridges and dams of a place