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‘America Isolated Under Trump’: Citing Soaring COVID-19 Rate, EU Bar US Travelers

The decision, said one foreign correspondent, "is certainly an indication about how the rest of the world, particularly Europe, sees the United States right now."

The U.S. is not included on the final list of countries from where travellers can fly into the European Union’s 27 member nations when the bloc reopens its borders Wednesday.

The news came as a top CDC official warned that there currently is “too much virus” in the U.S. to be contained. More than 2.6 million people in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and more than 126,000 have died as of Tuesday.

As Common Dreams reported last week, E.U. officials have been debating which countries should be permitted into its 27 member nations as the bloc begins to reopen its borders and draft rules suggested people from the U.S. would not be allowed.

On Tuesday, officials announced that only people arriving from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay will be permitted to enter the E.U. starting Wednesday.

Visitors from China will also be allowed into the E.U. with the provision that the country must allow people from the bloc to travel there. The list will be updated every two weeks as the E.U. monitors the pandemic, which is continuing to spread widely in the United States and many other countries around the world.

The list “is certainly an indication about how the rest of the world, particularly Europe, sees the United States right now,” said NBC News foreign correspondent Richard Engel.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper linked to a graphic on Twitter which illustrated Europe’s reasoning for leaving the U.S. off the list of approved travel origins.

For every 100,000 people in the U.S., 107 have become infected with the coronavirus in the past 14 days, E.U. officials said Tuesday. Just 16 people per 100,000 in the E.U. have contracted the virus in the same amount of time.

The E.U. considered countries’ records on contact tracing and testing as well as social distancing protocols when deciding where travels could arrive from.

The list was released as U.S. states including Arizona, Texas, Florida, and South Carolina are reporting skyrocketing case numbers following their governors’ early decisions to reopen businesses including restaurants and bars as well as other public places.

Arizona, Texas, and Florida officials all announced in late June that they would pause or reverse parts of their reopening plans as surges in cases were linked to bars and restaurants reopening. But a number of states have shared no plans to reverse course even as case numbers rise.

The U.S. federal government did not impose a nationwide lockdown in response to the pandemic.

Overseas, E.U. countries including Spain, Germany, and Belgium imposed strict nationwide lockdowns after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In many cases the lockdowns were imposed alongside robust economic relief packages designed to allow people to stay at home without risking their livelihoods. In Denmark, the government offered to pay private companies to cover 75% of all employees’ salaries, and in the Netherlands 90% of unemployed workers’ wages were covered by the government.

In the U.S. the most far-reaching relief offered by the federal government was a one-time payment of $1,200 for some Americans and $600 per week on top of existing unemployment benefits for those who lost their jobs. The unemployment bonus is scheduled to expire in July and the Republican-led Senate is reluctant to extend the benefit. Meanwhile, as part of the CARES Act in March Congress also created a $500 billion fund, ostensibly to be used by small businesses, but Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is refusing to disclose where the funds went.

As some U.S. states reverse their reopening orders, Democratic leaders, private companies, and public health officials are pushing the Trump administration to encourage or mandate protective mask-wearing to stop the spread of COVID-19, but the president himself has refused to wear a mask publicly and his campaign did not require attendees to wear them at his indoor rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma earlier this month.

A study out of UC Berkeley last month claimed that if 80% of Americans consistently wore masks, the COVID-19 infection rate would soon drop to one-twelfth of the current level.

“Europe is appropriately placing a travel ban on us,” tweeted Joel Rubin, a national security expert who worked in the Obama administration and on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign. “America is isolated under Trump. We’re on our own.”

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Common Dreams

This article is republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.