BRUSSELS, June 30. /TASS/. The EU will begin to open borders with 14 states starting July 1, with Russia and the US not making the list, the EU Council informed in a statement published on Tuesday. The document notes that China may be the fifteenth state if it is willing to open its borders to EU residents.
"The Council today adopted a recommendation on the gradual lifting of the temporary restrictions on non-essential travel into the EU. Travel restrictions should be lifted for countries listed in the recommendation, with this list being reviewed and, as the case may be, updated every two weeks," the statement published by the council informs.
"As from 1 July member states should start lifting the travel restrictions at the external borders for residents of the following third countries: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, China, subject to confirmation of reciprocity," the statement says.
According to the Schengen agreement, all decisions regarding border policy are made by the governments of separate EU states and not the EU official bodies. However, under current conditions, the European Commission has requested EU states to form a common list of third countries to renew contacts with. Otherwise, the EU fears that states would be forced to shut down borders within the Schengen zone if their neighbors choose to open borders with countries that still present an epidemiological threat.
EU member states began to shut their borders due to the coronavirus pandemic starting mid-March.
In late December 2019, Chinese officials notified the World Health Organization (WHO) about the outbreak of a previously unknown pneumonia in the city of Wuhan, in central China. Since then, cases of the novel coronavirus — named COVID-19 by the WHO — have been reported in every corner of the globe, including Russia.
On March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. According to the latest statistics, over 10,429,000 people have been infected worldwide and more than 508,400 deaths have been reported. In addition, so far, over 5,689,000 individuals have recovered from the illness across the globe.
To date, 647,849 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Russia, with 412,650 patients having recovered from the disease. Russia’s latest data indicates 9,320 fatalities nationwide.