© Provided by Slate German tourists in Rome in June. Guglielmo Mangiapane/Reuters
On Thursday, the EU extended its travel ban on the U.S. for the second time this month. The European Council issued the announcement following a biweekly review of coronavirus trends, containment efforts, and travel restrictions around the world. What’s the most important qualifier for getting approval to travel to the EU? Simple. A country must contain its coronavirus outbreak equally, if not better than, the EU. (Kudos to Canada, Japan, Thailand, and others who can have nice things again.)
The U.S. is nowhere near that benchmark. According to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. has had nearly 4.5 million cases and over 152,000 deaths as of Thursday. Across the pond, things are a bit better. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has reported just over 1.7 million cases across the European Economic Area (which includes the EU, U.K., Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway). No country within the E.U. has over 300,000 cases of COVID-19. Meanwhile, California, Florida, Texas, and New York have each reported more than 400,000.
The travel ban extension comes as a resurgence of the coronavirus looms over Europe. While Europe’s cases per million are far below its peak, some countries are starting to see upticks. Spain has reported over 6,000 new cases since Friday. Now, new cases are almost 10 times higher than the low Spain had achieved in June. María José Sierra of the Spanish Health Ministry’s Coordination Center for Health Alerts warned, “This may already be a second wave.”
Fearing a resurgence up north, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to delay an ease on restrictions for at least two weeks. He announced the delay on Friday and warned, “The prevalence of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to be rising for the first time since May.”
U.S. citizens are still able to visit the U.K., which left the E.U. in January, though they will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their arrival.
European countries are by no means the only ones extending travel bans. Canada and Mexico recently extended border closures with the U.S. until at least Aug. 21, government officials say. And according to the Pew Research Center, at about 9 in 10 people live in countries with coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
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