The European Union has instructed its members to remove the US – as well as Israel, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia – from the list of safe countries for non-essential travel, citing the rising number of Covid-19 cases.

Monday’s announcement by the European Council amounts to a recommendation to the bloc’s 27 member states, which technically retain sovereignty over their own borders. It reverses the June recommendation to ease restrictions on US travelers.

BREAKING: The European Union has taken the United States off its safe travel list due to rising coronavirus infections and has recommended reinstating restrictions on U.S. travelers.

The EC updates its travel recommendations every two weeks, based on Covid-19 infection levels. To be considered “safe” a country needs to have no more than 75 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the 14-day period. 

According to AP, the US averaged 152,000 new Covid-19 cases per day last week, on par with numbers from late January.

Meanwhile, tourists from the EU – and much of the rest of the world – remain banned from entering the US under the restrictions imposed early in the pandemic. In early August, the Biden administration was rumored to be considering a vaccination requirement to reopen the borders, but nothing has been heard about the proposal since.

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