The European Union on Tuesday agreed to open its border to 15 countries from where travellers can reach Europe from July 1, with the United States, where the coronavirus is still spreading, to remain excluded.
The EU said China is "subject to confirmation of reciprocity", meaning Beijing should lift all restrictions on European citizens entering China before European countries will allow Chinese citizens back in.
The European Union restricted nonessential travel to most of its member-states under rules in effect until at least June 30.
The US has not only the highest number of reported coronavirus infections of any nation, now 2,590,582, but also the highest number of deaths, at, 126,141, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
European countries have slowly begun to emerge from months of lockdown, although localised outbreaks have been reported in parts of Germany and the UK.
Earlier efforts to reopen the borders fell short, especially in the Schengen area, which serves as a window to the 26 countries, for most countries are only providing minimal access to certain visitors.
The EU's decision to exclude Americans was not a surprise, as the US grapples with alarming flare-ups across its South and West and continues to bar Europeans from visiting here. The New York Times said the list would be revised every two weeks, so the USA could be added later.
To qualify for the "safe" list, EU headquarters said that countries should have a comparable per capita number of COVID-19 cases to those in the 31 European countries over the last 14 days and have a stable or decreasing trend in the number of infections.
In the US, Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases amid a resurgence of the virus. "If the situation in a listed third country worsens quickly, rapid decision-making should be applied".
The E.U.'s 27 members have been drawing up a list of countries whose virus levels are deemed low enough to allow people from those places to travel into the bloc, which has been mostly sealed off since March.
The EU is set to announce a list of third countries which it will be reopening its external borders to, as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed.
They are asking the ECDC, the European Union agency for disease prevention, to come up with more details, the sources said, adding that the lists will be reviewed every two weeks.
Whatever is decided in Brussels will exist only as a recommendation since border control remains a national competence and a limited number of flights to and from banned countries have continued throughout the crisis.
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