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Following the first review under the recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU, the Council updated the list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted. This list will continue to be reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks.
Based on the criteria and conditions set out in the recommendation, as from 16 July member states should gradually lift the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity
Serbia and Montenegro have been removed from the list.
EU countries also discussed dropping Algeria and Morocco from the safe list due to a rise in COVID-19 cases but most opposed the move as numbers there were still relatively low. The two North African countries are therefore set to remain on the safe list for the moment. The list is updated regularly. France, the main proponent of Algeria’s removal from the list, said at the diplomats’ meeting it would adopt national measures to block arrivals from the North African state, according to an EU official who attended the meeting, Reuters reported.
The criteria to determine the third countries for which the current travel restriction should be lifted cover in particular the epidemiological situation and containment measures, including physical distancing, as well as economic and social considerations. They are applied cumulatively.
Regarding the epidemiological situation, third countries listed should meet the following criteria, in particular:
- number of new COVID-19 cases over the last 14 days and per 100 000 inhabitants close to or below the EU average (as it stood on 15 June 2020)
- stable or decreasing trend of new cases over this period in comparison to the previous 14 days
- overall response to COVID-19 taking into account available information, including on aspects such as testing, surveillance, contact tracing, containment, treatment and reporting, as well as the reliability of the information and, if needed, the total average score for International Health Regulations (IHR). Information provided by EU delegations on these aspects should also be taken into account.
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