UK travelers could be banned from EU after January 1 under Covid rules

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From that date, UK travelers will be subject to the same travel restrictions as all other non-EU countries which – due to the coronavirus pandemic – ban almost all essential travel to Europe, an official said on Thursday. from the European Commission to CNN.
The current Brexit transition period ends on December 31 and these travel restrictions will still apply even if the UK and the EU strike a trade deal.

“The UK is not part of the Schengen area and – after the end of the transition period – it will no longer be treated the same as a Member State,” said the European Commission official, adding that the United Kingdom “will be subject to the [EU] Council recommendation on the restriction of external travel. ”

The criteria for the recommendation defined by the European Council are mainly based on whether the epidemiological situation in a given country is better or lower than the EU average.

It also includes other factors such as “containment measures, including physical distance, as well as economic and social considerations”.

Reciprocal arrangements governing whether EU citizens are allowed to travel to this country “should also be taken into account regularly and on a case-by-case basis,” the recommendation says.

In October, EU member states decided that only eight countries met the criteria for a “safe country”, including Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

“The Council is responsible for reviewing the list of third countries to which the travel restriction is lifted and the Council will therefore have to consider including the United Kingdom,” said the official of the European Commission.

The UK will be reviewed along with other non-EU countries in the next review, which is due to take place the week of December 14, an EU official told CNN at the European Council.

“The list of countries for which the restrictions should be lifted is reviewed and, if necessary, updated regularly”, explained the head of the council, adding that it was too early to “confirm at this stage the status of a country. January 1st. ”

Essential travel is categorized into 11 areas, including medical professionals, transit passengers, diplomats, and people traveling for imperative family reasons.

Jack Guy of CNN contributed to this report.

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