Back in March, the US banned passengers from the European Union, even those merely in transit. These restrictions remain in place with no end date in sight. But now visitors from the United States may be banned from entering the European Union for the same reason—the potential of importing new cases of coronavirus.
As the EU (including the UK) prepares to open its borders, the authorities have prepared a draft list of countries whose citizens would be allowed to enter the Union. America isn’t on it. Brazil and Russia are also banned. But visitors from China and Vietnam would be allowed.
The northern summer is, of course, the peak season for American tourists eagerly looking forward to sampling the delights of Paris, London, and Amsterdam, the US carriers anticipate some serious income and the entire massive European tourist industry gears up for the annual onslaught.
Not this year.
The logic is irrefutable; Brazil is the only the second country to have exceeded a million reported cases of COVID-19 while the US has passed two million cases and where in some states the pandemic is accelerating. Even with some reservations about the official numbers and a resurgence in Beijing, it’s understood the virus outbreak is under control in China. Vietnam, remarkably, has fewer than 400 cases and no deaths. The rebound in that south-east Asian country has been so positive that the national carrier Vietnam Airlines has grown its domestic network.
It’s not only the tourism sector that will be affected, with just two months of the high season remaining but also the business traveller. However, a portion of business is now conducted—and may continue to be conducted—over the internet.
Although the optimism of trans-Atlantic carriers may be dashed by the ban, the list isn’t yet finalised. Neither presumably has the possible reaction of the American President been factored into the equation. Commentators suspect he may not be pleased.