The novel coronavirus has infected over a crore people globally. The United States remains the worst-effected with close to 2.7 million infections and almost 1.29 lakhs deaths. With close to 5.7 lakh cases, India is fourth on the list. Amid the global pandemic and lockdowns being enforced everywhere, Europe is opening its gates to tourists who hail from the curated list of 14 'safe' countries.
The EU has released a list of 14 these 'safe' countries and will only allow citizens from these countries from July 1. However, the list can be amended sooner or later, depending on the current pandemic situation.
The current 'safe' countries as listed EU: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Meanwhile, Europe would allow Chinese travellers only if EU citizens are allowed to travel to China. According to media reports, the EU has lifted all its border restrictions from the EU citizens travelling within the bloc.
Until the end of Brexit Transition on December 31, the UK citizens will be treated like EU nationals for the time being. This results in the exemption from temporary travel restrictions for UK nationals.
The United Kingdom is negotiating 'air bridges' with EU regions, in an attempt to not curb about summer holidays. Summers is the busiest season for Europe, which also provides employment opportunities to several millions of people.
However, the EU is hesitant about Spanish travellers, as it was one of the hard-hit countries by COVID-19. Instead, the EU wants to play safe and be open to Greece and Portugal, as these countries depend entirely on tourism and are less affected by the virus.
On June 30, the EU will finalise criteria for countries that are eligible to declare them 'safe' and formalise a final list.
55 per cent of EU countries with 65 per cent of the EU population has signed off on the list of qualified EU countries.
The media reports suggest, there are two lists in the making. One includes countries with less than 16 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people, and the other list covers countries that report less than 20 cases per 100,000 people. The lists will be revised every two weeks.