European Union countries are prepared to block Americans from entering as they reopen their economies due to the United States’ failure to contain the spread of the virus, according to draft lists of travelers deemed acceptable for entry to the EU obtained by The New York Times.
If the plan is implemented, Americans along with Russian and Brazilian travelers, would be prohibited from visiting countries in the EU — a clear rebuke of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has had more than 2.3 million cases and has exceeded all countries with a staggering death toll of more than 120,000.
The Times reported that European nations are currently considering two potential lists of welcome visitors — and both exclude Americans. The lists have been drafted to only include countries that have fared well in their managing of the coronavirus pandemic. China, as well as developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam, appear on both lists, according to The Times.
American travelers and travelers from around the world have been barred from the EU with few exceptions since mid-March.
A final decision regarding who will be let in as border restrictions are relaxed is expected early next week, before the group of countries formally reopens on July 1.
The move by the EU is similar to one made by Trump in March, when the President enraged European leaders by banning citizens from most EU countries from traveling to the United States. Trump justified the ban as essential to protecting the United States, which at the time had just about 1,100 coronavirus cases and 38 deaths.
Trump hinted that some restrictions would be loosened in remarks in late May and early June, but has not lifted the ban since then. Meanwhile Europe has largely calmed the outbreak, even as the United States see infections continue to spike in new hotspots around the country and Trump continues to refuse to wear a mask or send states the resources needed to further expand testing.
Stopping American travel to the European Union would greatly impact economic relations as business and summer vacation plans are cancelled.
While the EU can’t force its members to follow the restrictions, European officials have warned that border control could be enforced against any EU nation that refuses to comply.
European officials said the list would be reconsidered on a biweekly basis to assess any changes in which visitors are allowed within EU territory as each country’s caseload for the virus changes, according to the Times.