EU reopens external borders to 15 nations

Madrid Desk, Jul 1 (efe-epa).- The European Union opened its external borders from Wednesday to 15 nations outside the Schengen area.

Representatives spent five days negotiating a “safe” list, which does not include the United States, Russia or the vast majority of states in Latin America.

China is on the list, subject to a mutual agreement being reached which has not yet been finalized.

The other permitted countries are Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

The United Kingdom and four other European nations, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, have also been deemed “safe”.

Turkey said Wednesday it was “disappointed” not to be included on the list.

The country has recorded almost 200,000 confirmed cases and more than 5,100 deaths, with a rise in the daily number of cases over the past two weeks from around 900 to 1,200.

The list will be updated every two weeks and each EU state will have the final say on when it will start readmitting citizens from any of these countries.

Austria has issued a travel alert for six countries in the Western Balkans after several of these nations saw a spike in coronavirus infections.

The warning applies to Serbia and Montenegro, which are on the EU safe list, as well as Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania.

Austrian authorities have warned against travel to these nations and asked any citizens in the area to leave as soon as possible.

Foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg said his country has “close political, economic, human and cultural ties” with the Western Balkans and acknowledged that it would be hard for many citizens who have family and friends in the region.

“We have to do everything possible to avoid a second wave,” he added.

Schallenberg said the EU list of countries is a “recommendation” and that restrictions for non-EU travelers are still in force in Austria, including a 14-day quarantine or negative Covid-19 test.

The Czech government has said it will maintain restrictions for travelers from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Uruguay, Georgia and Rwanda, which are all on the EU approved list.

The foreign ministry said the measures take into account whether those states allow Czech citizens to enter without restrictions, the epidemiological situation and the volume of mutual tourism.

Germany has said quarantine will continue for travelers from countries including Russia and most of the US, and that regional authorities can apply measures to limit entry.

Authorities in the country said travel restrictions have been decided based on contagion data for each nation.

The list of risk areas includes Russia, 25 US states, Mexico, Venezuela, Morocco and Algeria.

Germany lifted restrictions it had with other EU nations on 15 June and a general travel warning on a long list of other countries is in place until 31 August.

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