SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF/AP) — Just when international travel was beginning to pick up at San Francisco International, the European Union announced Tuesday it was keeping the borders in continental Europe closed to U.S. travelers for at least 14 days because of an uptick in new coronavirus cases.
SFO officials announced last week that United Airlines, British Airways and Lufthansa had all resumed flights to and from Europe in June after grounding travel since March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Flights to Asian destinations will not be impacted by Tuesday’s announcement. Nor will it impact travel to Great Britain, which has left the European Union.
More than 15 million Americans are estimated to travel to Europe each year, while some 10 million Europeans head across the Atlantic.
Citizens from the following countries will be allowed into the EU’s 27 members and four other nations in Europe’s visa-free Schengen travel zone: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.
The EU said China is “subject to confirmation of reciprocity,” meaning it must lift all restrictions on European citizens entering China before it will allow Chinese citizens back in.
Countries considered for the safe list are also expected to lift any bans they might have in place on European travelers. The list is to be updated every 14 days, with new countries being added and some even dropping off depending on whether they are keeping the disease under control.
Among the countries not on the list are the United States, Russia, Brazil and India.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States has surged over the past week, and President Donald Trump also suspended the entry of all people from Europe’s ID check-free travel zone in a decree in March.
In contrast, aside from a notable recent outbreak tied to a slaughterhouse in western Germany, the virus’s spread has generally stabilized across much of continental Europe.
European Union countries hastily slapped restrictions on who could cross their borders in February as the virus spread in Italy. Then in mid-March the Europeans limited all non-essential travel to the 27 EU member states plus Liechtenstein, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland.
Non-EU citizens who are already living in Europe are not included in the ban.
The EU list does not apply to travel to Britain, which left the EU in January. Britain now requires all incoming travelers — bar a few exceptions like truck drivers — to go into a self-imposed 14-day quarantine, although the measure is under review and is likely to ease in the coming weeks. The requirement also applies to U.K. citizens.
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.