By Barry Neild | CNN
The prospects of European travel for Americans have diminished again as countries take new action in response to the recent surge in US Covid cases.
Earlier this week, the European Union announced it would remove the United States from its safe list and advised its 27 member states to reconsider entry for non-essential US travelers.
Many prime tourist destinations that welcomed much-needed visitors from the United States earlier this year have so far chosen to ignore non-binding EU advice. Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden were the first to introduce new rules.
As of September 4, the Netherlands will say the United States will be designated as a “high risk area” according to a government website, and Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia will be added as new additions to this list.
Travelers from these and other high-risk countries are allowed to travel fully vaccinated, but have to be quarantined for another 10 days. And from September 6th they also have to present a negative Covid test.
Sweden, which had previously exempted US travelers from banning almost all non-EU entries, has also removed the country from its approved list alongside Israel, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
Tourism industry hit by the pandemic
The country said in a press release that the measure would apply to all non-essential comers, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, although those with Swedish residence permits who have recently shown negative tests could be exempted.
The Swedish authorities are considering allowing fully vaccinated arrivals from certain counties and would “come back to this issue at a later date”.
Italy, which was one of the first European countries to open its borders earlier this year, has also introduced new measures affecting arrivals from all destinations, including the US.
On August 31, all visitors were asked to provide evidence of a PCR or antigen-covid test within 72 hours of travel, regardless of whether they were vaccinated.
According to the Italian Ministry of Health, travelers who are not vaccinated or are recovering from Covid must undergo five days of quarantine and a swab test upon arrival.
It is still unclear whether other European countries, many of which are betting on an influx of US visitor dollars to revive their pandemic-hit tourism economies, will also revise the rules.
Covid cases rose sharply in the US in July and September, with the Delta variant of the disease being blamed for many new cases.