| 24 June 2021, Thursday |

EU to add Japan to safe travel list, leave UK off for now

On Tuesday, EU sources said the Europe Union would add Japan to the small “safe” list of countries from which non-essential travel will be permitted, but that it will stop opening the doors for British tourists now.

The adding of Japan to a meeting on Wednesday is expected by ambassadors from 27 EU countries, whereas the UK will be left off as a result of the increased incidence of COVID-19 due to an infectious coronavirus initially identified for India.

Under the current restriction, only seven people in Australia, Israel and Singapore, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, can enter the EU on their holidays.

The EU last month eased criteria for adding new countries to the list, by changing to 75 from 25 the maximum number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days. The trend should also be stable or decreasing, with variants of concern taken into account.

EU health experts considered both Japan and Britain at a meeting on Monday, but representatives from a number of countries voiced opposition to adding Britain now.

Cases of the Indian variant doubled last week and the government has said it is too early to say whether Britain can fully drop COVID-19 restrictions on June 21.

Depending on the course of the variant, Britain could still enter the safe travel list on June 14, when a larger number of countries are expected to be considered, EU sources said.

Although this was missing, the list was intended to provide consistency across the entire block.

France and Germany imposed quarantines on UK visitors, while Austria banned UK tourists, while they were welcomed by Portugal and Spain.

Britain requires quarantine from all EU visitors, with the exception of those from Portugal.