An EU official quoted by Reuters and Bloomberg said the EU would reassess whether to reinstate travel restrictions on the one-way corridor with the US this week.
The EU currently hosts 23 “safe” third countries including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as they demonstrated (or demonstrated) a strong ability to keep their COVID-19 values low.
The main criterion for being considered a “safe” nation is having less than 75 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people, which is not the case in the United States.
The US is reporting 270 cases per 100,000 population, a trend that has increased dramatically over the past 14 days.
Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed displeasure that Washington had refused to reopen borders to the bloc.
“We are in contact with our American friends to resolve this issue as quickly as possible,” she told German media RND on Wednesday. “The situation can no longer drag on for weeks.”
She is not the only EU official concerned about the situation. Also last week, a spokesman for the Slovenian EU presidency “encouraged” the US to reopen its borders following the demands of several EU leaders.
“Many EU and EU Member State representatives spoke to our US counterparts about reopening plans for EU countries, in particular following Europe’s decision to allow US citizens to travel, (…) by this we continue to remember, to ask and encourage our American friends to follow suit,” said the spokesperson.
The problem is that, even if the US decided to reopen to EU travelers, the current epidemiological situation would get in the way.
According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, the average number of Covid-19 cases per day was over 107,100 in the past 7 days, the highest since January 2021.
Florida continues to lead child and adult hospitalizations for COVID-19 and Louisiana currently has 2,421 patients at the hospital, including 277 on ventilators.
Last week, Arkansas reported that only 25 ICU beds remain statewide, and in Texas, Judge Lina Hidalgo said the state is once again heading “towards a public health catastrophe.”
Although the US has crossed the limit for leisure travel, removing the country from the list would require the approval of a qualified majority of the 27 member states. We’ll see.