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EU removes U.S. from 'safe' travel list due to COVID-19 surge

By Clyde Hughes & Don Jacobson
EU removes U.S. from 'safe' travel list due to COVID-19 surge
Travelers are seen at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, Calif. Since June, vaccinated Americans have been allowed to enter the European Union without quarantining. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The European Union on Monday recommended that the United States be removed from the list of "safe" nations for which COVID-19 travel restrictions are being gradually relaxed.

In updated guidance to the EU's 27 member nations, the European Council dropped the United States and five other countries from its list of "Annex I" or "safe" nations for which travel restrictions should be lifted.

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The other nations singled out Monday include Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and the Republic of North Macedonia. Countries not on the EU's Annex I list face restrictions on non-essential travel into the bloc.

The "safe" travel list has been generally accepted by the EU's 27 members, but it's not binding -- meaning some may decide to keep permitting U.S. tourists for economic reasons.

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The New York Times, CNN and Wall Street Journal reported that rising concerns about the more contagious Delta coronavirus variant are behind the move.

Some countries in the bloc were upset when Britain and the EU permitted entry for fully vaccinated Americans in June, but the United States maintained restrictions on travelers from both areas.

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Vaccinated travelers from countries on the safe travel list can enter the EU without quarantining, or if they show a recent negative coronavirus test. Those not on the list are subjected to quarantines and additional testing.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said the U.S. coronavirus surge has been "both entirely predictable, but entirely preventable."

"And you know we know we have the wherewithal with vaccines to turn this around," Fauci said, according to CNN. "We could turn this around and we could do it efficiently and quickly if we just get those people vaccinated."

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