Right now much of the world is closed to U.S. tourism. On the whole the Caribbean is opening, and the Maldives opens July 15. Turkey and Serbia are open. But most of the world that will accept Americans at least requires coronavirus testing on arrival or two week quarantine.
The E.U. is trying to come up with a list of countries whose citizens will be allowed to enter starting July 1. They can’t force their members to honor the list, but they want consistency. Without consistency in who can enter, they may not be able to open borders within the E.U. itself. Countries that are part of the Schengen Area traditionally do not have border controls on who can visit from within the bloc. There are three scenarios:
- Europe adopts a common set of countries whose citizens can enter, and those who cannot
- Europe doesn’t adopt a common list, and many countries keep their borders closed within Europe
- No common list, people can enter Europe via certain countries and then travel to other European countries that wouldn’t have otherwise allowed them in.
Greece has said they’d be open to the world starting July 1. Iceland has sought to open as well, with required testing. However the E.U. is currently pushing two lists of allowable countries.
- A list of 47 countries with infection rates (over the past 14 days) that are lower than Europe’s 16 per 100,000 average.
- A list of 54 countries with infection rates up to 20 per 100,000 average
The idea is that people allowed in are coming from places that don’t have greater prevalence of COVID-19 than Europe does. The U.S. has had 107 infections per 100,000 and Brazil has had 190. Russia is also well above the threshold for its citizens to be welcomed into Europe.
It’s time to lift the U.S. travel ban on Europe, it’s far less likely someone coming into the U.S. from Europe has the virus than someone already here. The China travel ban should be lifted as well. Perhaps the U.S. is waiting to use the ban as leverage to try to get other countries to re-open their borders, as opposed to using it as a tool to protect the country from the virus.