EU to start lifting COVID-19 travel restrictions for U.S. tourists

Travelers from the United States may soon be able to travel to Europe once again after the coronavirus pandemic had restricted most international travel.

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Members of the European Union voted to add the U.S. to the list of countries that can be allowed to take part in non-essential travel, The Associated Press reported.

The vote is non-binding and each country can require tests or vaccination records or other rules regarding entry.

The EU does not have one border policy but has been working on a joint digital travel certificate that is issued to people who are vaccinated, tested or recovered from COVID-19, the AP reported.

Countries like Spain, Germany and Greece have already started using the system, which can be used by Americans, with remaining member countries expected to start July 1.

This will be the first time Americans can proceed with non-essential travel to most of Europe since March 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported. Greece and Italy have already allowed Americans to travel to their countries.

But not everyone supports a total lifting of restrictions and prefer a phased relaxation of restrictions for travel.

“Let’s look at science and let’s look at the progress. Let’s look at the numbers and when it’s safe, we’ll do it,” Belgium’s Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said, according to the AP. “The moment that we see that a big part of the population is double-vaccinated and can prove they are safe, travel will pick up again. And I would expect that over the course of the summer.”

The U.S. has not lifted the ban, however, for many parts of Europe, The New York Times reported.

>>Related: COVID-19 delta strain could become dominant variant

Right now, infection rates are low in many parts but not everywhere.

Britain has had an uptick in infections of the Delta variant which has delayed the country’s opening by about a month, the Times reported.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms?

>> What are your chances of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19? This tool will tell you

>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does

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