Excluded from the lifting of EU travel restrictions, the trajectory of the United States’ Covid-19 outbreaks compared to the European bloc couldn’t be any more different.
First published in July 2020.
When the European Union reopened its borders to non-members on July 1, the United States found itself on the list of countries excluded from the lifting of travel restrictions. Due to its failure to control the spread of the novel coronavirus, the U.S. didn’t meet the criteria applied by the bloc’s member states, which also keep travelers from Russia and Brazil, among others, from entering the EU.
Last month, the European Commission had recommended the gradual reopening of EU borders for external visitors on July 1, saying that “international travel is key for tourism and business, and for family and friends reconnecting. While we will all have to remain careful, the time has come to make concrete preparations for lifting restrictions with countries whose health situation is similar to the EU’s.” The Commission advised member states to keep restrictions in place “for countries whose situation is worse than in the EU,” a criterium the U.S. sadly but doubtlessly meets at the moment.
As the following chart, based on data from Johns Hopkins University, illustrates, the trend of daily new COVID-19 cases has taken completely different trajectories for the U.S. and the European Union. While cases in the U.S. started surging in mid-June, the outbreak appeared to be under control in the EU. Four weeks into the reopening of its borders to international travelers, the European Union is also seeing new infections rise again – a painful reminder that the pandemic isn’t over just yet.