The European Union has moved to restart restrictions for travelers from the U.S. over concerns related to the COVID-19 Delta variant.

CNN had reported that the EU was expected to make its final decision on whether to restart travel restrictions on Monday, citing a diplomatic source. The Associated Press later reported that the European Council, the EU's governing body, moved ahead with the decision in the afternoon.

The U.S. was not alone among the countries the EU renewed restrictions for. Kosovo, Israel, Montenegro, Lebanon and North Macedonia all were removed from the bloc’s safe travel list at the same time as the U.S. These changes are set to be adopted unless any EU members choose to reject the decision. The decision to abide by the new restrictions is not legally binding for any of the EU's 27 member states to follow. 

The European Council updates the safe travel list based on criteria relating to coronavirus infection levels that is reviewed bi-monthly. The threshold for being on the EU list is having not more than 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.

The restrictions include quarantine and testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers from the U.S. and others on the travel safety list. Removing the U.S. from the safe travel list comes two months after the European Council agreed to add it and 13 other countries to its list of safe countries to visit.

New restrictions would be arriving at a time when states across the U.S. are struggling with a new wave of COVID-19 infections, largely from the Delta variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) data tracker tool shows that nearly every county in the U.S. is at risk of high transmission for the virus and the last recorded seven-day average for new cases was 147,030 as of Aug. 27.

At least 72% of U.S. citizens have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but vaccine hesitancy remains strong in some counties where cases remain stubbornly high. Meanwhile, a number of states, primarily led by Republican governors, have been opposed to implementing either vaccine or mask mandates even in the face of rising case loads and overwhelmed hospital staffs.

EU states are also implementing their own new restrictions to curb the Delta variant. France, Greece and Cyprus have all introduced new restrictions to limit the virus’ spread alongside new vaccine mandates for certain sectors, including healthcare workers. The U.S. continues to keep its borders closed to nonessential travel from the EU despite pressure on the Biden administration from Brussels.