EU Set to Bar Travelers From Certain Countries – Including Israel – Over Coronavirus

French daily Le Monde reports that 'red' list countries, which EU says was determined by infection rates, testing capacity and preventative measures, also includes United States, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia

Noa Landau
Noa Landau
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Greek Police wearing face masks check the documents of the passengers, Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, Athens, June 15, 2020
Greek Police wearing face masks check the documents of the passengers, Eleftherios Venizelos International Airport, Athens, June 15, 2020Credit: Thanassis Stavrakis,AP
Noa Landau
Noa Landau

The European Union will vote by Monday on a list barring travelers from several countries, including Israel, from entering member states in light of the severity of their coronavirus outbreaks, the French daily Le Monde reported on Saturday.

The decision was made in the night between Friday and Saturday by the Committee of Permanent Representatives, which is made up of the head or deputy head of member states' mission to the EU, the report said.

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Infection rates, testing capacity and preventative measures were mentioned as factors leading to the decision. Among some of the other countries present on the list, which is set to be concluded Saturday night, are the United States, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

According to the report, the list of countries green lit for travel into EU member states as of July 1 contains Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Thailand, Uruguay, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Georgia, Montenegro and Serbia. China is also included on the condition that it also allows European travelers to enter in return.

The decision said EU countries may remain sovereign, and are not obligated to permit entry to people travelling for these countries, but may not accept travelers from "redlisted" countries. This throws into question Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ability to fulfill the goal of allowing flights to and from Greece and Cyprus on August 1.

Following the EU's report, the Knesset's coronavirus committee will hold an emergency meeting this week, at the behest of Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg. On the agenda is the issue of uniting mixed families, in which some members hold Israeli citizenship and some do not, who will be unable to see each other due to the coronavirus crisis. 

Due to the crisis and the closed skies, Zandberg said, "many families have been torn apart." Israel allows Israeli partners and families back into the country from abroad, she noted, "Mixed families have no ability to meet. Every family is equal, and this discriminatory policy must be dealt with as soon as possible." 

Earlier this week, it was reported that Israeli officials fear that the recent rise in the number of coronavirus infections in the country will lead foreign countries and groups of states to downgrade its ranking for incoming tourism.

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