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Coronavirus Lockdown: Europe Reopens Borders to 15 Countries, US Excluded from List

Coronavirus Lockdown: Europe Reopens Borders to 15 Countries, US Excluded from List

The restrictions are to be gradually lifted starting July 1, as the infection rate recedes - at least in Europe - and some countries hoped for close European Union coordination.

Croatia, which now holds the EU's rotating presidency, requested that countries offer feedback by Saturday at 1600 GMT, with hopes the matter could then be put to a vote among the 27 member states.

The EU list does not apply to travel to Britain, which left the EU in January.

The list will act as a recommendation to European Union members, meaning they will nearly certainly not allow access to travellers from other countries, but could potentially set restrictions on those entering from the 14 nations.

Canadians are on the list, but most Americans have been refused entry for at least another two weeks due to soaring coronavirus infections in the U.S.

While the EU was set to vote on the decision last week on Saturday, EU member states needed more time to determine whether they could open external borders with the 14 (+1) countries considered to be safe.

In addition to Moroccans, travelers from Tunisia, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, New Zealand, Servia, South Korea, Thailand, and China are all permitted to enter the Schengen Area starting July 1.

The decree, which will be reassessed every two weeks, signals that the ban disrupting both business and leisure travel across the Atlantic won't be lifted until USA authorities control the spread of the deadly virus.

That list of safe countries was officially unveiled by European officials on Tuesday.

The agreement is non-binding, but countries allowing in travelers from non-listed external countries risk having their European Union peers again closing the borders and not letting the citizens of non-abiding countries enter.

The criteria are based on epidemiological data and on Thursday, the draft list had 54 nations that would be accepted.

The United States is now the country most affected by COVID-19 with more than 125,000 deaths - while Europe believes it has passed the peak of its outbreak.

It remains to be seen whether Morocco will announce any plans to reopen its borders in the coming month.