June 23 (UPI) -- The European Union is weighing blocking travelers from the United States and a handful of other countries as it prepares to reopen its borders after shutting them down in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Draft lists of acceptable travelers reviewed by The New York Times showed that travelers from the United States, Russia and Brazil would not be permitted to enter the European bloc.
The United States has reported 2.3 million positive cases of COVID-19 and 121,119 deaths, both of which are the highest in the world, according to figures by Johns Hopkins University. States including Florida, Arizona, California and the Carolinas have also experienced a surge in cases in recent weeks.
Brazil has reported the second-highest figures, with 1.1 million positive cases and a death toll of 51,271, while Russia is third in cases with 598,878 and 14th in deaths with 8,349, according to Johns Hopkins.
The EU is debating two separate lists of approved travelers, both of which include China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged, as well as Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam, The Times, reported. The lists also include countries that may present a high risk of spreading the virus, such as the United States.
A report by Sky News stated that the EU was also considering banning travel from India and Russia along with the United States, Russia and Brazil.
The EU is expected to issue an announcement on its travel policies, which are set to take effect July 1.
An unnamed EU diplomat told CNN that the criteria for what countries would be allowed would focus on the circulation of the virus in each country and would seek to exclude travelers from nations "where the virus is circulating most actively."
EU officials told The Times the list would be revised every two weeks to reflect changes in the number of cases throughout the world.