The European Union is set to remove Serbia and Montenegro from its safe list of countries from which non-essential travel is allowed, while including the United States was not even discussed given its sharp rise in cases, EU officials said.
The decision was proposed by Germany, which holds the EU presidency, at a meeting late on Monday and was supported by several states, including France, Spain and the Netherlands, officials told Reuters.
It needs to be formally confirmed by EU diplomats at a meeting later on Tuesday. The list is only a recommendation. Not all EU countries are applying its provisions.
The two Balkan countries were set to be removed because of spreading infections, officials said.
EU countries also discussed removing Algeria and Morocco from the list due to a rise in cases, but most opposed the move because numbers there are still relatively low. The two north African countries are therefore set to remain on the safe list.
Luxembourg and Cyprus supported the inclusion on the list of the United Arab Emirates based on data provided by Cyprus, but other countries opposed it, officials said.
Proposals from Cyprus to add Israel, Libya and Jordan to the list were also dropped.
After the exclusion of Serbia and Montenegro, 13 countries will remain on the list. They are: Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
Despite being on the list, travel from China will be allowed only if Chinese authorities also allow in EU visitors. The reciprocity requirement is not applied in the case of the other listed countries.