Aft the European Union on Monday advised its member nations to ban unvaccinated travelers from the US to Europe, Italy, the Netherlands, and Sweden have put new travel restrictions on those hoping to visit the European countries from the US.
The European Council of the European Union, which represents the 27 members of the E.U., recently removed the U.S. from a list of “safe” countries whose residents are approved to travel without quarantine or testing.
The Council’s recommendation is not a mandate, and each member of the E.U. has the ability to decide what restrictions they enforce on travelers.
If a country chooses to implement the new rules, they would only apply to unvaccinated travelers, and the Council has already issued a recommendation that member nations should allow only fully vaccinated travelers with an E.U. approved vaccine to travel.
Italy, Sweden, and the Netherlands place restrictions on US travelers
Many European countries have chosen to disregard the EU advice, but a few countries have placed restrictions on unvaccinated tourists from the US.
Italy, which was one of the first countries to open up to foreign tourists this year, has put new measures in place for all international travelers, whether they are vaccinated or not.
All those who hope to enter Italy, even the vaccinated, will have to show proof of a negative PCR or antigen coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of travel.
All unvaccinated tourists traveling to Italy will also have to quarantine for five days and take a Covid test. Travelers who have received the coronavirus shot will not have to quarantine.
The Netherlands has moved the US into its “very high risk” category, which means that all unvaccinated travelers from the US will not be permitted entry into the European country.
All those travelers from the US who have been vaccinated will have to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, but if a a covid test taken on day five of quarantine is negative, they will be able to cut their self-isolation short.
Additionally, all vaccinated US tourists hoping to travel to the Netherlands will have to provide proof of a negative covid test upon arrival.
Sweden has opted to ban all travelers from the US, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated or not, who are not entering the country for non-urgent reasons.
Those who are studying in Sweden, hold a Swedish residence permit, or are also EU citizens, will be allowed to enter the country.
European Union Council recommends new restrictions against Unvaccinated travelers as cases and deaths rise across Europe
Although some speculate that the imposition of more travel restrictions in Europe could hurt the already ailing travel industry in the continent, the E.U. believes it may be a necessary precaution to prevent cases in its member nations.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday warned that there could be another 236,000 Covid-19 deaths in Europe by the first of December after high levels of virus transmission continue to be noted on the continent.
Citing stagnating vaccination rates, along with a lesser rate of inoculations in poorer nations, the director of WHO Europe had dire predictions for the next three months.
“Last week, there was an 11 percent increase in the number of deaths in the region –- one reliable projection is expecting 236,000 deaths in Europe, by December 1,” director Hans Kluge told reporters on Monday.
So far, Europe has suffered approximately 1.3 million Covid 19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic; worldwide there have been a total of 4.5 million deaths out of a total of 216 million cases.
Thirty three of the WHO Europe’s 53 member states have experienced an incidence rate over 10 percent in the past two weeks, according to Kluge.
As seen in Greece, where the country had a record 4,806 cases on August 24, the virus has spiked over the summer as people have traveled to other countries and domestically and the Delta variant surges throughout the world.
The current transmission rates across Europe were “deeply worrying, particularly in the light of low vaccination uptake in priority populations in a number of countries,” Kluge stated today.
The official said that the recent spikes seen across the continent were due to the more transmissible Delta variant, along with what he termed an “exaggerated easing” of Covid-19 restrictions and measures, and an upswing in travel this Summer.
Covid-19 deaths loom as vaccination rate slows in Europe
At the end of August, approximately half of Europe is fully vaccinated, but the rate of inoculations has now slowed, Kluge explained, saying “In the past six weeks, it has fallen by 14 percent, influenced by a lack of access to vaccines in some countries and a lack of vaccine acceptance in others.”
According to the latest data, 55 percent of Greek adults have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. In the United States 51 percent have been fully vaccinated, in Germany 60 percent and in the UK 62 percent. The European Union average is 57 percent.
A paltry six percent of people in lower and lower-middle income countries on the continent are now fully vaccinated, however, while some nations have only managed to vaccinate ten percent of their health care workers.