EU to recommend reinstating Covid-related travel restrictions on US, reports say


(CNN) — The European Union is expected to recommend on Monday that member states reinstate Covid-related travel restrictions and halt nonessential travel from the United States and five other countries, according to multiple reports.

The EU would reestablish coronavirus travel restrictions such as quarantine and testing requirements for unvaccinated travelers from those countries, two diplomats told Reuters.

One diplomat told Reuters the other countries to be removed from the safe travel list would be Kosovo, Israel, Montenegro, Lebanon and North Macedonia.

The decision to renew EU travel restrictions would become final on Monday should no EU country object, the sources, as well as two EU officials, told Reuters.

The European Council, the EU’s governing body, recommended that the bloc lift restrictions on non-essential travel from 14 countries, including the US, in June.
However, Covid-19 cases in the United States have surged in recent weeks, as the highly infectious Delta variant spreads among unvaccinated Americans. Covid-19 cases among children are also hitting levels to levels not seen since winter.

“What is going on now is both entirely predictable, but entirely preventable. And you know we know we have the wherewithal with vaccines to turn this around,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US government’s top infectious diseases expert. “We could turn this around and we could do it efficiently and quickly if we just get those people vaccinated.”

Nationally, 52.1% of the population was fully vaccinated as of Saturday, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Florida on Saturday had the highest Covid-19 hospitalization rate in the country, with 75 patients per 100,000 residents in hospitals with the virus, according to data from federal health officials and Johns Hopkins University. It also reached yet another pandemic high of Covid-19 cases Friday, reporting 690.5 new cases per 100,000 people each day from August 20 to August 26, state data showed.

Fewer than 50% of people in South Carolina, Louisiana and Texas are fully vaccinated. Studies have shown that full vaccination is necessary for optimal protection against the Delta variant.

Several hospitals in those four states — Florida, South Carolina, Texas and Louisiana — are struggling with oxygen scarcity. Some are at risk of having to use their reserve supply or risk running out of oxygen imminently, according to state health officials and hospital consultants.

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