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EU to reopen borders with 18 nations but not Russia or US — source

The document is yet to be formally agreed by the Council of the European Union next week

BRUSSELS, June 27. /TASS/. The Committee of Permanent Representatives in the European Union (COREPER) approved on Friday a list of 18 nations, to whom the union’s borders will start to reopen on June 1, a diplomatic source in Brussels told TASS, adding that Russia and the United States were not included into the list.

"EU envoys have achieved a political agreement on a draft list of 18 countries for reopening borders. This process will be gradual, and will begin on July 1. Russia and the United States were not included into the list, in line with epidemiological criteria," the source said.

The diplomat said the document is yet to be formally agreed by the Council of the European Union next week.

The list includes Balkan states, Canada, China, South Korea and Japan. Another diplomatic source said, however, that consultations with China were still ongoing.


Not on the list

Earlier on Friday, a source in Brussels told TASS that the European Union will not include Russia in the list of countries cleared to enter the area on July 1.

"The fact of the matter is that the epidemiological situation in Russia does not make it possible for us to add it to the first list of countries who citizens will be allowed to cross the borders on July 1. This is normal because Russia needs more time, since the virus started actively spreading there later than in European states," the source said.

According to him, the list of countries that is currently being drafted by the EU will later be expanded. "We will review this list rather regularly. Of course, as soon as it is clear that Russia’s epidemiological conditions have improved, we will add it to the list. It is in the best interests of all sides, trust me," the diplomat added.

Earlier, the European Commission called on all member states to reopen all domestic borders by June 15. Moreover, it recommended to give a go-ahead to gradual lifting of restrictions on foreign travel starting with July 1. At the same time, the EU regulations stipulate that it is up to national governments to make decisions on border-crossing and travel issues rather than EU bodies.

On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 9,724,100 people have been infected worldwide and more than 492,000 deaths have been reported.

To date, 620,794 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 384,152 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 8,781 fatalities nationwide. Earlier, the Russian government set up an Internet hotline to keep the public updated on the coronavirus situation.