Europe Updates COVID-19 Country ‘Safe List’ For Travel; U.S. Still Banned

Credit: Rob Finlayson

The European Council has further reduced its list of countries from which it recommends lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions, removing Algeria from the “safe list” in its latest update.  

In a July 30 statement, the Council said member states as of July 31 should gradually lift travel restrictions at their respective external borders for residents of Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay as well as China, subject to confirmation of its reciprocity.  

The U.S. remains on the list of countries from which travel is restricted—unwelcome news for airlines in the U.S. and Europe hoping to revive their all-important transatlantic operations.  

The Council reiterated that countries whose restrictions were being lifted should, among other criteria, record a number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days per 100,000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average as of June 15, as well as a stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days.  

In the case of countries whose bans remain in place, EU citizens or long-term EU residents and their family members and those traveling for an essential function or need should be exempted, the Council said.  

Although member states do not have to follow the recommendation, the European Commission has previously urged them to adopt a coordinated approach. The Council said member states should not decide to lift travel restrictions for non-listed countries without prior coordination. 

The list will continue to be reviewed and updated.  

In its first list published June 30, the Council recommended the gradual lifting of temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay and China, subject to reciprocity. That list was updated two weeks later, to remove Montenegro and Serbia.  


Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.