With so many parts of daily life opening back up again in much of the world, it’s hard not to expect the trend to continue. Despite many travel restrictions easing across Europe, the US Secretary of State is hesitant to reopen US borders to ‘non-US citizens’ who have been in the EU in the past 14 days.
US policy as it stands
According to the CDC, several Presidential proclamations have established restrictions on the entry of certain travelers into the United States. For restricted countries, this is the current US policy:
“With specific exceptions, several Presidential proclamations suspend and limit entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of noncitizens who were physically present within the following countries during the 14-day period preceding their entry or attempted entry…”
The European Schengen Area and its 26 countries then appear on the list. China, Iran, Brazil, the UK, South Africa, India, and Ireland also appear on this restriction list. Closure to the EU has been in effect since March 2020.
On Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that restrictions, as it pertains to the EU, would remain in place. But what did he actually say?
Anxious to restore travel
At a news conference in Paris alongside French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, Blinken made the following comment with regards to the US opening up to the European Union:
“We are anxious to be able to restore travel as fully and quickly as possible. I can’t put a date on it, we have to be guided by the science, by medical expertise,” -Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State via Skift
For a number of EU nations, this position shows a lack of reciprocation. That’s because several European nations have reopened their borders to Americans. In fact, in just the past week, new additions included the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Germany, and Austria.
Indeed, on the topic of offering reciprocity in lifting restrictions, Blinken said that such an act would be “premature.”
What is ‘the science’ at the moment?
Right now, data shows that new daily case counts continue to fall in the United States. In fact, these numbers are the lowest since late March of 2020, when the crisis was just emerging. According to Worldometers, the number of active cases in the US sits at just under five million, a seven-month low and down from the late-January peak of just over nine million.
In many European countries, case counts are also falling (although Spain has seen a recent uptick). This positive trend is mainly attributed to an effective vaccine rollout.
Despite all of the good news, the science is also showing the emergence of more infectious variants. First detected in India, the ‘Delta’ strain of COVID-19 has also further developed into what is being referred to as ‘Delta Plus.’ Reports thus far indicate that symptoms are slightly different, with younger people more likely to be affected.
Therefore, with the virus continuing to evolve, the hesitance and reluctance demonstrated by US government officials is actually quite understandable.
What do you think of the US Secretary of States’ position on reopening to the EU? Let us know in the comments.