Residents of 11 more third-countries will benefit from restriction-free entry to the European Union and Schengen Area Member States after the Council of the EU agreed to add these countries to the EU’s list of epidemiologically safe third countries by the end of this week.
The decision has been taken today, on June 30, during a regular meeting of the EU ambassadors, who review the list of safe third countries every two weeks, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
The following ten countries will be added to the list:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Saudi Arabia
Currently on the list are Albania, Australia, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Rwanda, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United States.
All 11 of these countries have recorded a low number of COVID-19 cases recently. Azerbaijan, for example, has recorded 38 cases in the last 24 hours, Kosovo four, Brunei only one, while Montenegro has recorded no new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours.
The former EU member – the United Kingdom – has been left out of the list due to the widely spread Delta variant of the Coronavirus in its territory.
While there hasn’t been reported that any of the countries currently on the list will be excluded from it, the chances are that Rwanda will be the one to be dropped from this group after the country marked a spike up in the number of COVID-19 cases in June.
After a year since the list of safe third countries was first introduced, the same is finally expanding.
On the last review of the list, the Council of the EU had added the US, Albania, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Serbia, Taiwan, and the Chinese administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau in the list, the highest number of countries since then. The list became effective on June 18, and the Member States have gradually reopened the borders for the majority of these countries by now.
The move to add these countries to the list is part of the EU’s reopening strategy, through which the block intends to slowly reopen for travellers from third countries with a low number of COVID-19 cases reported.
While the EU recommends to the Member States to reopen their borders to the residents of these countries completely restriction-free, the Member States may still impose restrictions like a negative Coronavirus test or self-isolation. In addition, the member states are not legally bound in applying the EU Council’s list, but they should base their own national lists on it.