June 16 (UPI) -- Diplomats in the European Union on Wednesday recommended that the 27-member alliance update its COVID-19 safe travel list to include visitors from the United States, a move that's expected to take effect later this week.
The ambassadors expressed support for lifting the pandemic-related travel restriction for all foreign nonessential visitors from eight additional territories, including the United States, even those who aren't vaccinated.
The EU for more than a year has barred nonessential entry for travelers from nations that aren't on the safe list, which is based on coronavirus transmission rates. The restriction has effectively banned tourism.
The bloc decided last month to admit fully vaccinated travelers and urged member nations to expand their travel lists to non-EU countries with a "good epidemiological situation."
An official decision on expanding the list is expected Friday and would take effect immediately.
Other nations poised to be readmitted include Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Lebanon, Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong. Some countries like Australia, Japan, and South Korea are already on the safe travel list, which is regularly updated.
The European Union is comprised of 27 member states, including France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands and Spain -- nations that typically count on summer tourism from abroad to support their economies.