People in Algeria, Rwanda, Uruguay, China and Canada are now free to travel to parts of Europe on vacation. Travelers from the United States are not.
At first glance, it seems like the European Union has chosen a motley crew of 15 countries whose residents are now officially allowed nonessential travel into its member nations, something that has been restricted since the middle of March.
In fact, the Europeans say this exclusive club was devised using a strict set of epidemiological criteria.
That's why the U.S. — which has the most coronavirus cases and deaths in the world — was nowhere near making the cut, according to three E.U. diplomats involved in the negotiations, speaking anonymously because they were not authorized to talk publicly about them.
"What do you think?" one of them deadpanned when asked if Washington had been close to meeting the threshold.
"The U.S. was never going to make it," another said. "Just look at their coronavirus situation."
Despite recording more than 8,600 coronavirus deaths, Canada's newly reported cases are decreasing and broadly the same as the European average, so it too made the list.
The club also features countries less renowned for their pandemic response: Tunisia, Uruguay, Serbia, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Algeria and Georgia, a nation which borders Russia and Turkey. But all of them satisfied the E.U.'s criteria.
China, where the outbreak is believed to have started, says it has had fewer than 400 cases in the past two weeks. It is the last country on the list, on the condition it allows entry to E.U. citizens in return.
A stark omission — from a political and economic perspective at least — is the U.S.
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Trump has mishandled the Covid Pandemic and we are the worst in the world. Trump is turning us into a disgrace.