EU maintains travel restrictions for US and UK while the UK clamps down on Portugal visits

Jun 3, 2021

The European Union will maintain restrictions on non-essential travel from the U.S. and U.K., meaning visitors from those two countries may still need to abide by member states’ quarantine requirements.

International airlines and tourism concerns are being hammered by decisions that will reduce summer travel.

The EU added Japan to the so-called white list of nations for which restrictions will be lifted, according to an emailed statement. Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand are also on the list.

The EU updated its criteria for allowing non-essential travel into the 27-nation bloc last month, recommending that measures be loosened in light of progress in vaccination campaigns and improving rates of Covid cases. The EU already agreed to allow inoculated visitors into the region without having to quarantine as of July 1.

The EU’s recommendation isn’t legally binding and some member states have already eased curbs. Greece accepts visitors able to offer vaccination proof or a negative test, without asking them to quarantine. Spain announced that all vaccinated travelers would be allowed to visit from June 7, including those coming from countries for which restrictions are still in place.

Meanwhile, Great Britain has removed Portugal from its so-called green list of countries that can be easily visited, dealing a body blow to an airline industry crying out for a reopening of European travel. Despite having more than a quarter of its population vaccinated, Portugal is experiencing a surge in new cases and deaths.

No other countries are being added to the roster of places Britons can go to without having to quarantine on return. Portugal, a popular southern European getaway, was the only sun-spot of any size in the green category. From Tuesday, it reverts to amber, requiring 10 days of self-isolation for retuning travelers.

The U.K. setback could be devastating for both the airline industry that’s been leveled by the coronavirus pandemic as well as Portuguese tourism, which counts on Britons for 30 percent of its income.

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