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COVID-19: EU recommends lifting non-essential travel ban on US visitors

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By Euronews with AP
A departures board at JFK airport's Terminal 1, Friday, March 13, 2020, in New York. The EU is now recommending restrictions be lifted on US visitors.
A departures board at JFK airport's Terminal 1, Friday, March 13, 2020, in New York. The EU is now recommending restrictions be lifted on US visitors.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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The European Council has confirmed that from today (Friday June 18), travel restrictions should gradually be lifted on people entering the EU from a number of countries including the United States.

The new list published by the EU body representing national leaders confirms a non-binding recommendation agreed on Wednesday by EU members.

In addition to the US, EU representatives added five other countries -- North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Lebanon and Taiwan -- to the tourist travel list.

The move is not conditional on reciprocity from the other countries. However in the case of China, which is also on the list, the lifting of restrictions is subject to a reciprocal move from Beijing -- although reciprocity is removed in the case of Hong Kong and Macao.

The Council says its recommendation is not legally binding: national governments are responsible for implementing it and have the authority to require test results, vaccination records, or to set other entry conditions.

On May 20, the Council recommended introducing certain waivers for vaccinated people and easing criteria to lift restrictions for third countries.

At the same time, it said the possible risks from new variants should be taken into account, and set out an emergency brake mechanism to enable a quick response should a variant of concern emerge in a third country.