The European Union has recommended that its members reimpose travel restrictions on tourists coming in from the United States. The recommendation comes at a time US is battling a rising number of COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant is wreaking havoc on health systems of several European countries. The decision to remove the United States from a “safe list” of countries reverses advice from June, when the European Union recommended lifting curbs on US travellers ahead of the summer tourist season.

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The European Union’s recommendation came on Monday. Any decision on travel curbs will however be nonbinding as the European Union does not have a unified COVID-19 tourism policy and national governments have the authority on imposition of curbs.

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The restrictions may include quarantines, further testing requirements upon arrival and even a total ban on non-essential travel from the US, according to the Associated Press. The European Council updates its travel list relating to coronavirus infection levels every two weeks. The threshold for being on the European Union’s list is not having over 75 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a period of 14 days. In the week that went by, the United States averaged around 152,000 cases per day.

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While the EU is wondering on whether to reimpose restrictions, the United States is yet to open its own borders to European tourists despite calls from the European Union to the US government to lift its ban. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned the European Union on Monday that countries in the bloc may see 236,000 more COVID-19 related deaths by December. WHO has blamed the Delta variant and waning rate of vaccination for the current upswing in cases.  

(With inputs from Associated Press)