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Washington relaxes warning for travel to nearly 60 countries

After a reassessment of the health risk, the United States decided on Tuesday to relax warnings for Americans’ travel to nearly 60 countries, including France, Germany and Japan.

The United States relaxed, Tuesday, June 8, its warning to travelers wishing to travel to several countries including France, after reassessment of the risk associated with Covid-19 and while the Europeans are demanding for their part the reopening of American borders to the United States. support for advances in immunization.

Many European countries, including Germany, Italy and Spain, are taking advantage of this upturn just before US President Joe Biden’s visit to Europe. As well as Japan, a month and a half away from the Olympic Games, as well as Canada and Mexico, the two neighbors of the United States.

In all, nearly 60 countries which were hit by the maximum level 4 warning (“do not go there”) due to the health crisis are reduced to level 3 (“avoid going there if possible “), announced the American diplomacy in a statement. About twenty other states have taken them a notch down to level 2 or 1.

An official from the US State Department explained to AFP the relaxations with a “methodological change” in the analysis of the health risk for travelers carried out by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).

In April, the State Department announced that it would classify nearly 80% of the world’s countries at level 4, to harmonize its travel advisories with those of the CDC and better take into account the epidemiological risk.

EU demands reciprocity

Does this turnaround bode for a change of foot from Washington on the subject of American borders, closed since March 2020 to non-Americans and non-residents from the Schengen area, Ireland and the United Kingdom?

It intervenes in any case when the European Union decides to authorize entry to American travelers vaccinated against Covid-19 and asks for reciprocity in the United States.

“We already welcome American tourists from the moment they are vaccinated, from the moment they have had the two doses and that we have waited for the 15-day deadline. I insist that we want reciprocity,” a declared Monday the European commissioner in charge of the internal market, Thierry Breton, promising to speak about it with the American authorities.

>> To read also: “Covid-19: who can enter and leave French territory from June 9?”

Beyond tourists, the closure of borders which, on the American side, also concerns China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India, has caused many personal tragedies, separating thousands of families, sometimes for over a year.

Washington has so far always invoked “science” to justify maintaining this closure – especially when the vaccination campaign in the United States was well ahead of that of European countries. Recently, however, vaccination has also accelerated in the EU, where the number of coronavirus cases is down sharply.

And the relaxation of travel warnings suggests that “science” – in any case its representatives in the US administration – has downgraded the risk associated with Covid-19 in the event of travel in many countries, in particular Europeans.

A question on the G7 menu

The issue is expected to be raised with Joe Biden when he travels to the UK for the G7 summit and to Brussels for a meeting with EU leaders.

“We have very clearly heard the desire of our friends in Europe and the United Kingdom to be able to reopen transatlantic travel, and we wish it too. But we must follow the science and the recommendations of our public health professionals”, assured White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan Monday. “So we are actively discussing with them to set the timetable.”

“The Biden administration realizes that as we approach the summit with the EU, it will have to deal with this file when it was not on the White House’s agenda, due to the European demand for reciprocity and pressure from airlines who want to see transatlantic traffic resume “, analyzes Célia Belin, political scientist at the Brookings Institution in Washington, who last week called on the American president to make a” strong gesture “in this direction during his trip to Europe.

With AFP

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