EU Travel Ban: What the World Thought They Would Never See

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By Kayla Murphy

The coronavirus has consumed the world over the course of six months. It has taken lives from beloved families and left millions infected across the globe. Because of the consequences from COVID-19, countries have closed their borders to everyone else in the world to try and reduce the spread of this deadly disease, and also to help save the lives of their own people. When this lethal disease became classified as a pandemic businesses, gyms, schools, colleges, day cares, and companies shut down all over the United States and in other countries as well. As countries were slowly starting to lift their travel bans and organizations were starting to re-open, cases increased in some countries. Based on this recent surge of COVID cases in the United States (US), members of the European Union (EU) are imposing daunting travel restrictions, and banning travel into their countries from the US.  However, contrary to reports, the United States is not the only country that is on a travel black list.  

Recent Statistics Show an Increase in Cases

When the US began reopening states along with their borders, other countries became suspicious and thought it was too early, especially since Europe only began opening their borders on July 1st. 

EU officials began to conduct biweekly reviews of travel restrictions that examined COVID-19 trends as well as containment measures. Based on these tests performed by EU officials, the US is not the only country that is on the ban list to enter Europe; other countries include Brazil, India and Russia. Given that information, the EU is also putting restrictions on countries such as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Even the EU did not fully open the entire region to outsiders only opening 14 countries for travel. These EU restrictions do not include Britain since their exit from the organization in January. 

What the US is Doing Wrong and What They are Doing Right 

With the United States holding the record for most cases in the world, other countries, such as those in the EU are watching how the US is handling COVID-19.  American opinions on the handling of the coronavirus vary. Many American’s views depend on the effects of the individual guidelines of their state. 

US states opened up after about two months of quarantine. Massachusetts and New York were among the top of the list for  most cases reported. Because these states had the highest rates of cases, they were among the last states to reopen. Other states in the southern part of the country were scrutinized for the resulting spike in cases because of reopening without the proper safety guidelines in place. A BBC article claims that states such as New York and New Jersey were hit hard in the beginning, and states in the south such as Florida and Louisiana are being hit now even worse than New York and New Jersey. States that have an outrageous surge in cases in the summer are now closing everything again, and making masks mandatory. 

During this dark time, with coronavirus spreading in the US like wildfire, one positive aspect of the pandemic was the development and problem solving of the local government in New York. The state of the Big Apple was able to grip the given circumstances and adapt to it, making huge improvements in the number of cases that they were able to reduce in a matter of months. The amount of deaths that were recorded on April 8th was the peak at 799 deaths within the state; that amount has dropped to single digits now in July. 

Guidelines Put Out by the EU 

The United States has the worst COVID-19 outbreak out of all 195 countries. To date, there are 2.6 million new cases arising within the US with 126,000 confirmed deaths. The infection rate and death toll continues to creep higher and higher. Americans wanting to travel to Europe since the reopening of the borders on July 1st are urged to check US embassies for a list of the travel restrictions along with quarantine policies and urgent health information. 

There are some exceptions to the travel restrictions for those living in the US as well as Americans who reside in other countries. According to Forbes, exceptions include, “EU citizens and their family members, long-term EU residents and their family members, and travelers with an essential function or need.” Also, any American citizen who resides in countries considered “safe” from the coronavirus: South Korea, New Zealand, and Japan are welcomed to travel to the EU. Along with that, non-residents who were sheltering or stuck in Europe for the months during quarantine have access to traveling within the EU to Austria, Spain, France and the Netherlands; however each country has different limitations due to COVID-19. 

Conclusion 

To conclude, every continent on the globe was shaken by this pandemic. No one had ever seen anything like this in their lifetime. No government knew exactly how to handle this situation, however they tried their best. With countries opening up too soon when they still have a high infection rate, normally welcoming Western allies like the EU have reconsidered who they let into Europe to prevent relapse. The world has to learn to adapt to these new guidelines as the new normal, because no one knows how long this disease will last. 

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