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Passengers who were on board a Swiss Air flight from Zurich arrived in Valencia, Spain on May 21, 2020. (Photo by Jose Jordan / STR / AFP via Getty Images)

As EU Looks to Reopen Borders, US Covid-19 Surge Means Americans May Not Be Welcome

"I can't say I'm surprised," said a pathology expert at Johns Hopkins University.

Julia Conley

The European Union is preparing to allow travelers from dozens of countries into the 27-member nation bloc starting July 1—but Americans are unlikely to be welcome for the foreseeable future due to the Trump administration's failure to control the coronavirus pandemic.

Two draft lists of countries from where tourists and business travelers will be able to travel to the E.U. this summer include countries with both lower infection rates and slightly higher rates than the bloc's member countries.

With 107 new Covid-19 infections per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, the U.S. is far from making the cut. The E.U.'s 14-day average for new cases is just 16. More than 120,000 people have died of the coronavirus so far in the U.S., and the country has at least 2.3 million confirmed cases. 

The U.S. is joined by Brazil and Russia on the list of countries from where travelers will not be allowed into the E.U., if the draft rules are made official next week. Brazil's 14-day average is 190 and Russia's is 80. 

Like President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro have been rebuked by public health officials for dismissing the risks posed by the pandemic early on and ignoring the advice of scientists. 

Millions of Americans travel to E.U. countries each year for business and tourism, but E.U. leaders are evidently considering that the economic benefits of allowing people to enter the continent from the U.S. do not outweigh the public health risks.

"I can't say I'm surprised," Denis Wirtz of Johns Hopkins University tweeted. 

In addition to dismissing the advice of medical experts who have urged Americans to wear face masks and called to ramp up testing and medical supplies early on in the pandemic, Trump and other federal lawmakers in the U.S. have declined to follow the lead of European countries which imposed strict public health and robust economic policies to achieve a significant reduction in transmission. 

Spain, France, and Belgium are among the E.U. members that have reported steadily decreasing case numbers in recent weeks.

Spain was hard-hit by the pandemic just as the U.S. was, but the country imposed a strict six-week nationwide lockdown beginning in mid-March. The extreme safety measure was paired with an economic relief package including mortgage payment suspensions, the ability of employees to reduce their workdays by as much as 100%, guaranteed liquidity for businesses to avoid layoffs, and subsidies for domestic workers and others who were forced to stop working. 

By contrast, Trump signaled impatience with social distancing guidelines pushed by experts just days into the nationwide state of emergency he declared in March, and encouraged states to reopen even as some reported their hightest infection numbers ever. 

"I can't really blame the E.U. for keeping us out," tweeted writer Karrie Jacobs. "But I can blame Trump and his circus sideshow of an administration."


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