EU reopens borders, but South Africans CANNOT travel to Europe for now
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Brussels - The European Union plans to
open its borders to non-essential travellers such as tourists
and most business people from a limited number of countries
outside the bloc from July 1.
The 27 EU governments agreed on an initial "safe list" of 14
countries, which excludes South Africa, the United States, Brazil, Russia and
WHO IS ON THE LIST, AND WHY?
Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro,
Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand,
Tunisia, Uruguay are on the list. China will be included if it
lets in EU visitors because reciprocity is a condition.
The EU considers those countries to have similar or better
control of the Covid-19 pandemic as the bloc itself, based on
the number of cases per 100,000 people in the previous two
weeks. The EU average is around 16.
The figures for the United States, Mexico, Brazil and much
of Latin America, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia and Turkey
are too high, according to data from the European Centre for
Disease Prevention and Control.
As well having a stable or decreasing trend of new
infections, countries must have sufficient testing, contact
tracing, containment and treatment capabilities to deal with the
pandemic and containment measures in place for all journeys.
They also need to satisfy the European Union that their data
is available and reliable. Simply having no reported cases, as
is the case with Tanzania, Turkmenistan and Laos, is not enough.
WHERE CAN THEY GO?
Travellers from the "safe list" countries will potentially
be able to go to Europe and then travel freely throughout the
Schengen area, which includes 22 EU countries, plus Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The list will be reviewed every two weeks to add some
countries and remove others. It is only a recommendation to EU
members, who can still impose some travel restrictions. The idea
at least is that they should not open up to other countries.
WHAT ABOUT BRITAIN?
Although the EU wants to work on the basis of reciprocity,
Britain, which is no longer an EU member, is an exception. It
enforces 14 days of self-isolation on all non-essential
travellers, but its residents have been free since mid-June to
travel to many, but not all, EU countries.
Due to the lack of reciprocity, UK visitors are asked to
carry out a 14-day voluntary quarantine in France. In Greece,
flights from Britain are banned on health grounds.
WHO ELSE CAN TRAVEL?
Travel restrictions are not supposed to apply to travellers
"with an essential function", including healthcare workers,
seasonal agricultural labour, diplomats, students and people in
need of humanitarian protection.