• The European Union is drawing-up a list of countries whose citizens will be denied entry
  • The EU will reopen its borders to foreign travelers on July 1
  • Travelers from the U.S. is expected to be barred from entry into the EU

The European Union is considering imposing a travel ban on people coming from the United States, Brazil and Russia -- the three countries with the largest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases -- ahead of all 27 EU member states reopening their economies on July 1. On the other hand, the EU is expected to allow the entry of people arriving from China and a few other developing countries.

The United States, Russia and Brazil are considered unsafe based on tough EU epidemiological criteria. The primary epidemiological metric being used to determine travel restriction is a measure of the average number of new cases per 100,000 people over the last 14 days. The EU has an average of 16 new cases per 100,000 people.

On the other hand, the U.S. has 107 new cases per 100,000 people. Brazil’s has 190 and Russia 80, according to The New York Times. Plans by EU member states to ease border restrictions and open up to tourists from third nations don't include these three countries due to their surging number of cases.

EU member states are haggling over two potential lists of acceptable visitors based on how countries are faring with the coronavirus pandemic. Both lists include China and developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam, the Times noted. They also exclude the U.S., Brazil and Russia and are deemed too risky because of the spread of the virus.

One list includes 47 countries and only those countries with an infection rate lower than the EU average. The other and longer list has 54 countries. It includes countries with slightly worse case rates than the EU average. Travelers from the United States and the rest of the world have been barred from visiting the EU since mid-March.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said countries on the list that will be allowed to enter the EU will be based on three criteria: at minimum these countries should have COVID-19 under as much control as the EU average, these countries should have containment measures during travel and they should also be willing to allow EU visitors entry.

Italy is expected to receive around 172 billion euros from an EU fund to help revitalise its economy
Italy is expected to receive around 172 billion euros from an EU fund to help revitalise its economy AFP / Andreas SOLARO

President Donald Trump's most significant response to the pandemic was to ban travel from China in January and from the EU in March. In early June, Trump said the EU was “making progress” and hinted that some travel restrictions will be lifted soon. Nothing has happened since then, however.

China and the EU have made great strides in controlling the spread of the disease over the past few months. In contrast, the U.S. leads the world in the number of cases (2.4 million) and deaths (123,000).

It's a situation caused by the slow federal response to the pandemic. Unlike the EU where COVID-19 cases are quickly declining, the U.S. is seeing its formerly flat case rate surge due to states' hastily reopening their economies.

The U.S. has only about 4% of the world's population but accounts for a fourth of total COVID-19 cases and a fourth of total deaths. Twenty-five U.S. states are now reporting spikes in new cases.